In this article we will try to highlight the main aspects and limits of container transport based on our experience gained on oversea sites.
Interest in wood, as a building material, is increasing worldwide, involving continents such as Asia and Africa, where there are currently no production factories. This needs to program the inter-continental transport of the material. A possible solution for sending the material is the use of containers, which transport the material always inside a single loading unit from the production center to the final destination, both by land and by ship. This allows to protect the elements for all the duration of the travel, without exposing them to rain, sun, etc…
The maximum dimensions of the container are an important aspect to carefully consider. The container size has been standardized to observe the road restrictions and to adapt to different types of transport. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the dimensions of the elements of the structure in the early stages of engineering in order to optimize the available space and so to obtain an economic saving. The common standard measures are shown in the following table:
Some containers have an opening on the roof and they are called open top. The type of container must be defined in advance according to the methods of loading in the factory and unloading on construction site.
In addition to the dimensional limits, the maximum transportable weight is another important aspect. The movement of very heavy goods is difficult and expensive. If we consider the ratio between the maximum transportable weight and the volume of the container, the wood optimizes the available space very well.
Time is another crucial aspect that can’t be underestimated.
As we know, one of the most important aspects of the building process is time saving (time = money). The production of CLT takes about 4 to 8 weeks, which may depend on the producer, quality and period of year.
In case of transport by ship, this aspect becomes more important as the weeks required for the transport must be added to the weeks of production. First of all, the panels must be picked up from the factory and deliver to the nearest port. The total time between the end of the design and the start of the construction site can be even 12-15 weeks!
So it is easy to understand how any design errors can have devastating effects on timing planning, producing delays with negative effects on the global economy of the building process. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is therefore an essential aspect in these cases.