The shipping industry has always been complicated and expensive, especially when there’s big cargo involved. If you’re shipping a car, for example, you’re going to pay about 60% more just to transport your vehicle in an enclosed carrier rather than an open carrier.
Many consumers are willing to take this in stride and either pay the extra money or settle for less vehicle protection on the road — but one Canadian company took a different approach to the shipping industry, and instead asked how the odious task of shipping big cargo can be simplified so that consumer costs can be cut.
Introducing the SL-tainer, a shipping container that has four hydraulic legs and can actually lift itself over five feet high, using pop-out legs, making it easier for loading crews to bring the container onto a flatbed truck or trailer.
It’s an invention that might seem a little silly — perhaps a little scary — and sounds eerily reminiscent of the Spider-Man villain, Doctor Octopus.
But in reality, this invention could end up saving consumers — and even shipping companies — a whole lot of money; as Tech Times explains, employee-operated cranes typically “spend their days lifting shipping containers on and off trucks,” which results in higher shipping costs for consumers.
The SL-tainer does require some human assistance, since it can’t technically lift itself onto a flatbed trailer, and the 5’3” maximum height isn’t quite high enough to reach the hull of a cargo ship. Nevertheless, as Gizmodo explains, the mere act of lifting itself off the ground could make this container invaluable due to cost and time savings.
Experts estimate that it costs a shipping company at least $1 each time a single traditional container is loaded on or off a carrier truck, and the entire process takes about 15 minutes (and hiring a crane to do the job is equally as expensive — if a crane can even fit into tight loading docks and factories).
It’s unknown how much money the SL-tainer could save individual consumers in the long run, but it might be interesting to find out if Doctor Octopus’s true calling has been hidden in the shipping industry.