Army

Interlocking shipping containers

Interlocking containers can be stacked and shipped without being secured by conventional bands or wrapping

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A soldier wraps cargo for shipping. (Army photo)

Estimating economic losses related to damaged shipments is difficult, but the components of the equation are known and include loss of product, additional costs for reshipment, extra labor, and unhappy customers. And yet, shipping of goods on standard 40” x 48” pallets has not changed much over the years. Containers of goods are stacked on pallets. After the pallet is loaded, the cargo is typically secured with bands, netting, or straps to prevent the containers from shifting or falling over. To unload the containers from the pallet, the wrapping is cut and discarded. Because of movement of the containers during shipping, the containers will sometimes unstack themselves or get dislodged when the bands are removed. Particularly for fragile containers or fragile container contents, falling to the ground can cause damage.

Problems are worsened with packaging bands when only a portion of a pallet of containers is desired at a location. After some containers are removed from the pallet, the remaining containers remaining must be re-stacked and banded again for further shipping. There is a need for a packaging solution that overcomes the problems associated with banding containers together.

The Army has developed a novel system that eliminates the necessity to wrap or strap cargo on a pallet. The novel containers interlock together on all six sides. When the containers are arranged on a pallet, they form a single interlocked structure. The containers easily attach and detach for unloading. Shipping of partial pallets is easy as containers in any amount can be secured.

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