Sustainable materials for shipping containers: COA identifies the options
Written by Molokini
Written on Friday, 08 February 2013
The COA has recently published reports reviewing the range of sustainable options for floor and paint materials used in the manufacture of ISO shipping containers
The Container Owners Association (COA) has recently published two Reports, reviewing the range of sustainable options for floor and paint materials used in the manufacture of ISO shipping containers.
Prepared by the COA’s New Materials Committee, the Reports recognise that the volatility of the container market over the last two years has had an impact on the use of sustainable materials, with long-term planning and forecasting becoming difficult for both container manufacturers and for container owners. For this reason, when containers have been purchased, the primary focus has been on “price” rather than “specification” or “environmental impact”.
Tropical hardwood has traditionally been the most widely-used material in the production of container floors. However, the COA’s latest flooring publication, entitled ‘Report on alternative materials for container floorboards’, gives details of the growth in the use of other flooring materials available today. It also provides a comprehensive list of the companies that supply these products.
The production of containers using flooring materials other than tropical hardwood plywood has been rising in recent years.
There are three main alternative materials being utilised: bamboo; plastic/composite; and larch/birch hybrid, but bamboo is emerging as the most effective alternative, in terms of volume, availability and cost competitiveness.
Out of some 2.25 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) produced last year, approximately 860,000 TEU were manufactured using bamboo floors, while the figure for larch/birch was 20,000 TEU and for plastic was 10,000 TEU. This means that 38 percent were built with floors that did not include tropical hardwood.
This report has not been created to tell COA members what materials they should be using, according to the New Materials Committee, but to explain the different materials available, so that they can make informed decisions. As well as considering their own priorities and requirements when deciding on alternative materials, the report suggests that companies should consider each material under the criteria of: cost, strength, longevity and durability and environmental acceptability.
A second Report, entitled ‘Report on availability of water based paints for the container industry’, was published in January 2013 and explores the use of water-based paints as an environmentally friendly alternative to solvent-based paints for container coatings.
Again, the purpose of this report is not to argue for or against the elimination of solvent based paints but to present facts about using water based paints, highlighting the benefits and observing any shortcomings. It explores the paint challenge faced within the container industry, and the solution is often commercial as well as technical.
The report also provides details on each of the major suppliers of container paint, together with comments and information submitted by paint producers and container manufacturers.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Container Owners Association (COA) was established in November 2004 as an international organisation representing the common interests of all owners of freight containers, worldwide.
The principle aims of the COA are to develop industry standards, to disseminate information through conferences, training and education, to promote safe container operations, lobby relevant regulatory authorities and to promote environmental awareness.
By joining the COA, companies can become part of a global association, whose members are at the forefront of the container shipping business. Full COA membership is open to companies whose main activity is operating and leasing containers and Associate COA membership to suppliers of container-related equipment and services
Issued on behalf of Container Owners Association by:
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