On A Silver Platter

In the opening edition of “Container Ship Focus”, David Tozer, Lloyd’s Register’s Business Manager for Container Ships offered his views about the shipping industry’s capacity orientation toward a large number of mega-ships. He presented some serious concerns:

• The lack of efficient, modern feeder tonnage poses a major threat to the container sector, and could potentially compromise the industry’s investment in new, large post-panamax capacity.
• Without proper investment, the lack of capacity could constrain demand and adversely impact on deepsea vessel economics.
• Investment in smaller boxships and feeders has been at a markedly low level, to the extent that a serious demand scenario has developed at the lower end of the size spectrum.
• The clear need for modern, flexible feeder designs.
• The likelihood that feeder trades could potentially become one of the most important sectors for the container industry.
• The failure to recognize this opportunity, with the result that few orders have been placed.

Suppose the industry does have a handle on these issues, however, and suppose they just haven’t been shown how to come up with the changes in the structure, design and deployment of the desired feedership fleet. If these changes could be effected for less than the amount of money it would take to build potentially obsolete mega-ships, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that the investors and the industry would rush to embrace this opportunity? Well, money talks, doesn’t it? With respect to changes in the structure, design and deployment of the desired feedership fleet, take a look at what’s being handed to the industry on a silver platter.

United States Patent Number: 5,860, 783 Date of Patent: Jan. 19, 1999


The entire Abstract can be seen on the U.S. Pat. Off. website, but here’s the purpose of the invention. In addition to our ability to provide high density storage, retrieval and delivery systems to container yards, our firm owns the patent rights to a cost-effective shipboard storage and retrieval system for containers. This system, providing instant retrieval of any single container within the ship, can be installed in obsolete cargo ships, in existing container ships, and in container ships now under construction or in the planning stages. Because current designs do not permit convenient, systematic and instantaneous retrieval of shipboard containers, most of the world’s ports will be unable to reach their full potential in the coming growth years. By relying upon this less costly design of container ships, however, feeder links, niche trades and shuttles can be reestablished. New trade routes would be inaugurated as a result, and ports previously unserviced would be accessible.

This revolutionary, and cheap, design will cater to everyone’s whims. It would cover all bases.