DHL’s supply chain division in Japan, with support from Fujitsu, have developed ‘multipurpose returnable containers’ that are claimed to reduce the environmental footprint of shipping precision equipment.
Traditionally, cardboard and foam absorption materials were used when shipping equipment such as servers and storage devices, which were disposed of after just one use, incurring costs for recycling.
The new containers have been developed to promote the 3R principle - to reduce, reuse and recycle - while minimizing shocks and vibrations during shipping.
An international patent is currently being filed for the container, which traps air within two layers of urethane film to provide shock absorption. By using hardboards made of recycled paper for the frame supporting the urethane film, the weight of the container itself was reduced to 5kg, around 50% less than the weight of previous containers. In addition, the containers have a maximum load capacity of 50kg, two and a half times that of previous containers. The durability of the containers means they can be reused up to 100 times.
It’s claimed the returnable containers will reduce CO2 emissions by around 4 tonnes while around 3.7 tonnes of packing materials will be saved annually in the delivery process for the server repair services ordered from Fujitsu. The eco-friendly packing boxes will also be offered to customers in other markets with similar needs.
Shuichi Kawamura, president of DHL Supply Chain, said: "By providing eco-friendly packing solutions, we are supporting our customers' promotion of environmental management in their transportation requirements. As a global leader in the logistics industry, we continue to develop solutions and services by offering added value to support our customers' business."