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Improving the productivity of container terminals when loading empty freight (ISO) containers on and off container ships 


With the arrival of bigger, more efficient ships, container ports are now being identified as a bottleneck in the system as a whole. With 24% of containers being handled empty, these represent a major part of the problem. So in response BLOK Container Systems Ltd. (BCS) is manufacturing a system to lift and transport four empty containers as one unit providing a win-win solution for container terminals and shipping lines. Terminals will improve productivity by reducing empty handling time by around 60 percent and achieving a faster turnaround of container ships. The system will also free up port space and increase capacity, reduce the number of vehicles, lower energy use and increase profitability. Shipping lines save time in port, increase their potential to ‘slow steam’ reducing fuel use and emissions, improve service regularity or reliability and improve profitability. 
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Every day, millions of empty containers are shipped worldwide 

The ‘BLOK Container System’ has been designed to enhance safety and efficiency of container terminals. Not only is it safer on the quay, the deck and at sea, but it speeds handling of containers and turnaround of container ships. 
In 2018 the International Maritime Organisation agreed at least a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Unless ships change fuel, the quickest way to achieve this is to ‘slow sail’.  
But if shipping lines want to maintain return on capital and ‘slow sail’ an important step to achieving this is to reduce turnaround time in ports. 

BLOK Container System 

The BLOK Container System comprises four products that create a safer, commercially viable, method of lifting four empty containers on and off ship as one unit and transporting it along the quayside.  
The BLOK-Spreader adapter connects to any single spreader in seconds and is able to lift a BLOK of four empty containers under a crane with as little as 28 tonne capacity. The BLOK-Trailer collates 8 teu of containers off the ship or to the ship from the empty container storage area.  
The BLOK-Rig facilitates semi-automatic fitting and removal of twistlocks to containers and proof tests empty containers for safe lifting in vertical tandem lifting (VTL). Finally, the BLOK-Cert electronically certifies the containers and twistlocks as fit for VTL use. 


These three simple steps all increase terminal productivity and speeds up vessel turnaround for empty containers. 
Load four containers onto a BLOK TRAILER 
Lift four containers onto ship with a BLOK SPREADER 
Issue a BLOK CERT proof test certificate 
The BLOK Container System will improve overall productivity by around 60 per cent. 
BLOKs can be assembled ahead of time, providing a balanced work load which allows stevedores to work easily and safely during social working hours. With the BLOK Container System it is possible to raise lifting rates from 30 containers per hour, to 120 per hour, a massive increase in productivity. Further savings come from use of the BLOK Trailers transporting 8 teu with one man, one tractor. 

   Why BLOK Container Systems? 

For Ports and Terminals the BLOK Container System offers the potential to increase capacity without the need to add more expensive cranes. 
Safety increased by moving dangerous manual twistlocking away from the quayside and away from deck. 
Safety with reduced container lashing and unlashing on deck by more than 50 percent 
Speed increased to 120 containers per hour with existing Ship to Shore container cranes 
Less fuel consumption, less wear, less maintenance of machines. 
For Shipping Lines the BLOK Container Systems offers 
Quicker turnaround reduced operating time and lower cost. 
"On an Asia-Europe round-trip the time spent in port has increased from 12 days in 2007 to 18 days. If we can't lift the containers off faster, the whole thing will come to a grinding halt" 
Søren Skou, Maersk CEO 2015 
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