Submitted by: T Kearns
Specialists recommending open auto shipping usually point out that it is considerably easier to load and unload open carriers. As many as 33 carriers can be fully loaded in a matter of 2 hours. It may take as long to load only a single car into a container and then to hoist the container onto the container carrier. The loading-unloading process is entirely different, requiring heavy-duty specialized equipment to be present on pick-up and destination sites. Existing container terminals are not adapted for handling cars and special areas have to be separately provided for the process and for the storage of relevant hardware. Separate and remote areas are also required to ensure the safety of client property. Container carriers manage about half of the number of cars an open carrier does.
Many precautions must be taken to ensure a car’s safety within a container. It must be carefully and professionally handled and secured with special equipment for loading and unloading. The securing process becomes even more complex if the container is not specifically designed to hold a vehicle. There is much wedging, coaxing, tying and binding involved in securing the vehicle inside the container. It is in this initial process of loading and securing that mistakes may be made causing damage to the vehicle, which may be discovered only at unloading.
In the open carrier damage may occur because the car is more easily accessible by people intent on doing it harm. Some cars have even been known to arrive with bullet holes. The closed container, while not totally inaccessible is far more so than the open one.
Crossing a border into a foreign country is difficult if not impossible for long open-carrier trains. Not every country has the same technology and equipment to handle the situation, and when they do, the varying documentation mandated from country to country may cause shipping delays. If long trains are loaded from manufacturing plants deep within foreign lands, when they reach the border of another country, the vehicles will have to be unloaded from the existing truck and loaded onto carriers capable of their transport on the other side of the border. This process opens up the vehicles to damage and theft. Again, the shipment is delayed.
Though not available in all countries, innovative technologies like Trans-Rack may be a solution . Bear in mind that not all of even the major countries can deal with the technical operations required of closed-container shipping.
What Trans-Rack does is enable the carrier to increase its load of vehicles within closed containers while reducing the cost of transportation by around 25%. It also offers safer loading and unloading to guard against damage to the vehicles. The cars utilizing the Trans-Rack system have a much greater chance of arriving intact and undamaged. Severe experiments have been undertaken which included dropping a loaded container from heights of 5 meters causing harm to the containers but not the interior cargo. Trans-Rack is much easier to load and unload, thereby less time is required in the process. A full container can be loaded in 30 minutes. The system also comes with standardized systems of securing the vehicles which not only makes them safer but helps keeps the cost of transportation down.
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