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03 March 2021
Ahead of exhibiting at Intermodal Connect, we spoke to Jan Koolen, Managing Director at UNIT45 to find out how COVID19 has impacted the shipping container industry and understand his positive outlook for the near future.
• In your view, what does the outlook for the industry look like?
In my view, the outlook for the industry looks positive. The container market is growing but the intermodal market is growing even more rapidly. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak road transport has been inconvenienced by the Covid-19 virus because the truck drivers were subject to border control. When tested positive they were forced to wait for another driver to come and take over the transport. This causes traffic congestion and all its consequences. Transport by rail did not encounter any problems at all. Therefore, a lot of transporters choose intermodal transport. This results in a decrease of 25% in road transport and a 15% increase in intermodal transport. This also results in an increase in container business.
• Has you firm launched any innovative products or new initiatives over the course of the pandemic?
UNIT45 has recently, together with Lamboo Medical Services, developed a container with a CT-Scan. We have also developed a hospital/medical container suitable for IC beds
for Siemens and Canon.
• How well do you feel the intermodal industry as a whole has reacted to the pandemic?
My thoughts are that the market has seen that the intermodal transportation is the future more than ever before. Especially due to all the problems road transport has suffered during Covid-19 in contrast to intermodal transportation and and the lack of international truck drivers worldwide. Companies choose for intermodal transport.
• What do you see as the major risks to the industry as it recovers from the effects of COVID-19?
Our industry is not recovering at the moment and therefore there are no major risks to it. There is more business since Covid-19 and more intermodal transport than ever before. We also see a large modal shift from trailer to container. We only see opportunities.
• What key trends do you see shaping the industry over the next few years?
The intermodal transport will increase even more especially in the niche industries like conditioned transport of goods in reefers. We see a major modal shift from trailer to European Intermodal loading units (EILU containers).
• How has your business responded to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The response in the intermodal business is positive, a major growth is visibly noticed as well as profit. For instance, the New Silk Way is a perfect example of this upcoming growth and trend. Sanctions are reduced in Russia and therefore it is easier to transport luxury and more expensive goods from China to Europe and vice versa by rail.
We participate at Intermodal to meet new potential clients and key decision makers in the intermodal logistics market.