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12th June 1970, Page 53
12th June 1970
Page 53
Page 53, 12th June 1970 — container
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

commentary by Norman Douglas

WHILE the 4th International Container Services and Equipment Exhibition, held at Olympia, London, last week, did not have the support of the container manufacturer members of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and was, therefore, to say the least, somewhat "thin on the ground" so far as exhibitors were concerned, those who were present had at least one consolation. Unsuspecting visitors, many from abroad, spent more time than is usually the case, studying the equipment and services that were on offer. The result, in almost every case, was that inquiries were unusually high. Thus, exhibitors such as Aluminium Norway A /S of Karmoy, Norway, our own Lancer Boss, and Lunn Laminates of the USA were able to return home with encouraging prospects for future orders.

Crane Fruehauf cashes in

Leaving aside the ICHCA conference, held on the last two days of the Exhibition at the Hilton Hotel which, among other things, gave the SITPRO Committee an opportunity to present its recently published report one container manufacturer certainly cashed in on the Exhibition. Crane Fruehauf Trailers chartered a river steamer, and invited over 150 past and prospective customers, component suppliers and the like to an on-board reception, which took the form of a trip down river from Westminster.

Present were many stalwarts from the container scene, representing operators such as OCL, ACT, Seatrain Lines and Bell; container lessors such as Interpool, Integrated Container Services; shippers and forwarders, etc, and the technical Press. A hard night's drinking and eating—yes. But, more than that, for the Crane Fruehauf sales team, a hard night's "business" as well.

Particularly enjoying the occasion was CF's dynamic sales manager, Ian Green, who was recently awarded second prize for an export achievement by an individual in the National Westminster Bank's Young Exporter competition, for landing a container order worth more than £3m, for North Atlantic newcomer, Seatrain Lines, which first started its sophisticated USA-Europe service in December last year.

Mr Green negotiated the sale, having deployed his sales division and quoted for the contract within three days of receiving news of it from his American contact. But Seatrain is only part of the success story because the award recognizes Fruehauf's entry into the insulated container market which represented a £25,000 order to the Danish Butter Board (with repeat orders worth over £100,000) and a break-through into the American market with a deal worth £500,000 for containers for Sealand.

From the deep discussions that took place at last week's CF river reception, I forecast another bumper order announcement in the future—the client, the Bell Group.

Bell to move

While on the subject of the Bell Group, followers of the container scene will wonder what is behind the imminent switch to London of its container control systems. which, hitherto, appeared to be working satisfactorily from Dublin to Rotterdam. No secret, this. According to the company, it is a series of moves designed to prepare for the Group's planned programme of expansion over the next five years. What, in fact, Bell is doing is to centralize its far-flung empire, transferring various (high up) members of management teams from Dublin, Rotterdam and Teespo rt.

George Hollwey, Bell chairman, explains the move thus: "The Group's container services have grown fivefold in the last five years and, having successfully established the basic system, I foresee that the demand for our services will accelerate even faster over the next five. We have chosen London as the most convenient centre, but we shall still keep firm roots in Ireland, Holland and the other places from which we have grown."

Changes in ICS

Integrated Container Services Inc—one of the original container leasing companies, and known to hauliers throughout the country, but particularly in the Southampton area in the early days of containerization—has made some moves, too. Michael Kluge, regarded by some as the "Moses" of containerization, for his predictions about container leasing, the operation of world container pools and originator of the container block train system in Europe, now "taken over" by Intercontainer, has stepped down from top position in ICS, the reins having been taken over. I gather, by Jim Thrasher who, until recently headed its "European operation from London.

New terminal at Dagenham

And, still in the container leasing field, Sea Containers Inc—its units are a familiar scene on British roads—is currently engaged on a feasibility study for the setting up of a container terminal at Dagenham. I gather—though my information is second-hand and, therefore, could be out of date by a week or so—that it is now engaged in a cost evaluation exercise which, if it gives favourable results, will lead to a final decision early this month (June). This revolutionary move is in earnest, it seems, following detailed examinations of virtually every port between Devon and the North East.

Chief problem with every site inspected—the old, old container terminal problem of insufficient stacking and parking space. Nearness to a Freightliner terminal also plays a part. At Dagenham, apparently, SCI has found something it can use and, if its arithmetic works out, the terminal could be operational by the end of the year.

Big container show for London in 1971

Harking back to last week's container exhibition, those who were disappointed with the showing should make arrangements to be in London in October 1971 for a really big show. The reason behind the non-appearance of the SMMT at Olympia lies in an announcement, due to be made this week, of the combining of Iliffe Exhibitions, the SMMT and another publishing house that holds a Container Services Exhibition in this country—McLean Hunter. They are announcing an international container exhibition to be held at Earls Court which will bring manufacturers and services together under one roof, to counter understandable complaints from exhibitors and visitors alike of to many container shows.

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