In the summer of 2018, the platform myboxplace.de has been launched as successor to the ‘Virtual Depot’, which has been operated by the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) for the Port of Hamburg since 2016. This platform aims to minimise the transport of empty containers by synchronising availability of (empty) containers among packing companies. This should result in cost savings, less transport in general and hence less negative transport impacts (e.g. emissions), and – more specifically – less truck transport in the port area.
Traditionally, packers or forwarders brought their import containers to an empty container depot after unpacking. These containers stay there until they are needed by other logistics companies for their export processes. The myboxplace.de platform offers a more efficient approach. Packers (or forwarders) are provided the opportunity to offer their (still unpacked) import container as an available empty container online via the platform for a certain period of time. If the container is reserved by another logistic provider within this period of time (and the deal is agreed by the packer), the container can be transported directly to the next user without an intermediate stop at the empty container depot. This saves the transport of the empty container to the empty container depot. The platform may also facilitate the re-use of containers by the same company: import containers are booked to be used as export containers by the same company.
The use of Myboxplace is currently limited to the Hamburg port area. However, the operator of the service, DAKOSY, has the ambition to apply the system at an European scale in the future.
More information can be found here.