Most people don’t realize that it costs almost as much to return an empty truck trailer, intermodal container (“seacan”) or wooden pallet back to its origin than it does to ship it when it was full. This is a major problem with our current supply chains because, whether we like it or not, these empty units “have” to get back to their origin to be used again. This is not only costly from a financial perspective but the cost to the environment is even more substantial. Ocean transport may not be as bad as land transport but, each mode of transport takes its toll on the environment and we don’t think this is necessary.
If just 10% of the tractor/trailers that travel empty used the Cargo Carousel System (CCS) we could reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 8,989,000 “tons” per year in the U.S. alone and save approximately $2,007,687,000 on diesel fuel at US $2.93/gal. The modules of the CCS can be opaque, lockable and sealable which allows any vehicle to transport the modules of the CCS for any shipper at any time and the CCS provides a reverse chain that allows deliveries and pick-ups at the same time and on any leg of the supply or return route so empty back hauls and partial loads can be eliminated while providing a foundation for a circular economy.
The CCS replaces wooden pallets and plastic wrap with infinitely recyclable heavy-duty aluminum modules. In the U.S. alone over 500 million wooden pallets are built each year just to replace the wooden pallets that are discarded or damaged and it is estimated that there are over 5 billion wooden pallets in circulation worldwide at any given time. Wooden pallets consume as much hardwood in the US annually as all other uses combined. Further, roughly half of these pallets are designed to use this wood only once and then discard it, in a way that limits the possibility of recycling. Since the pallets tend to be full of difficult-to-remove nails, a considerable percentage of these single-use pallets often end up in landfills. We can only guess how many trees this would equate to but, deforestation is already a major problem for our planet so eliminating wooden pallets would go a long way towards slowing deforestation.
The CCS can double the cubic space utilization in a warehouse (or replace a warehouse altogether) thereby doubling the efficiency of the warehouse operations or it can result in a smaller footprint requirement for the same amount of space in new construction. The emissions from heating this wasted space add up and the dollar costs are passed on to consumers in higher product costs. When you combine the reductions in GHG emissions, deforestation and warehouse construction size, the CCS offers a considerable environmental advantage over any other supply chain system.