Throughout history, sailing has been key to the development of civilisation, affording humanity greater mobility than travel by land, whether for trade, transport or warfare.
In other words, moving cargo from one spot to the next is one of the world’s oldest professions.
Over time, we’ve refined the art, adding air freighting into the mix, and improving the ways that we travel cross country.
Our ships are bigger, our cargos larger, and the logistics whittled down to a fine art.
So, why Boeing would want to mess with a good thing and design something that sucks up shipping containers is entirely beyond me.
According to Popular Mechanics, the company received a patent last month for an aircraft that would “roll right over them, squat down, and lock them in place”.
Standard cargo planes use what is known as the unit load device (ULD) system which breaks cargo into smaller containers and onto pallets for transport. This has a lot to do with the need for equal weight distribution in an aircraft that’s fighting a high stakes battle with gravity at 30 000 feet.
In this new aircraft, the intermodal containers would be arranged in a row and loaded through an opening in the bottom of the fuselage. They would then be locked into place by engaging the container corners.
If one falls out, heaven have mercy on whoever or whatever awaits below.
Patent Yogi made a great, if not strange, video showing how it would work.
Watch it from the beginning for some shipping trivia, or skip ahead to a minute in to see an animated play-by-play of the plane locking onto a row of containers:
I’m not convinced.
If you take weird freight planes out of the equation, moving cargo from origin to destination seems simple enough, until you start weighing up the myriad factors that need to be considered.
That’s why we can rest easy in the knowledge that there are experts out there who can take care of the tricky part for us.
Be it air freight or sea freight, full containers or part-containers, breakbulk or perishable cargo, for your importing and exporting needs, Berry & Donaldson have you covered.
As the old saying goes: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’