Changes in the global automotive industry are showing how CHEP reusable containers are more environmentally, operationally, and economically sustainable than cardboard.

The automotive industry is going through rapid change. The move towards electrification – driven by environmental regulations and consumer concerns – means many completely different components will be needed. Alongside the disruption caused by the pandemic, this is forcing a huge shift in supply chains across the world and putting increasing focus on the complexities of intercontinental transport.

It’s understandable why many in the industry might think that one-way packaging makes more sense for long transport flows. Cardboard appears much less of an environmental problem than a plastic box, being able to be recycled. And it seems relatively cheap to buy or replace, with no need for an empty return flow.

Yet the problems with one-way cardboard for long export/import journeys are significant – not just for reduction of CO2 emissions and waste, but for being less cost-effective in operational terms as well.

There’s a better way than one-way

One-way packaging isn’t as sustainable as it looks. In fact, over the packaging’s life cardboard embodies far more greenhouse gases than plastic. There’s also the difficulty of disposing of it properly (much of it ends up in landfills, where it rots producing even more greenhouse gas).

As importantly for complex export journeys, there’s also the matter of hidden costs, CAPEX, additional storage, greater manual handling, and risk of product damage.

For example, Tenneco – a global Tier 1 supplier – worked with CHEP to analyse the Total Cost of Ownership of their packaging system and found the largest areas of hidden costs was from single-use packaging. [Footnote 2]

Because of CHEP’s far greater scale and global network, they can guarantee that their customers always have the supply of the packaging they need – unlike one-way packaging – no matter what the changes in demand. And their reusable packaging is continually in circulation around the world, removing charges for empty reverse flows.

Robust reusable pooled packaging takes the risk out of complex intercontinental flows, where damage and interruptions to the journeys can mean production lines coming to an expensive halt. CHEP’s Value Chain Analysis looks at customer flows and helps them calculate the most efficient ways to reduce costs, increase transparency and sustainability, and make the export/import supply chain faster, simpler and safer.

One of the leading systems developers and suppliers for the automotive industry – with 40 manufacturing facilities across the world – was concerned about the capital expenditure of their one-way packaging logistics, as well as the sustainability impact.

So, they worked with CHEP Automotive experts to trial CHEP’s reusable containers for just one lane for a year – transporting catalysts from South Africa to Germany. Not only did this reduce physical waste by around 193 tons, but all their reliability, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness goals were met. They also found additional benefits in terms of reductions in product damage, trip volumes, warehousing, and sea freight optimisation. This solution can now be expanded throughout their supply chain.

Sustainability is at the core of the automotive industry’s future, and CHEP reusable pooled packaging is the most environmentally and economically sustainable way forward for intercontinental transport.

About CHEP

For over 30 years, CHEP has been a global leader in reusable automotive packaging solutions, helping our customers move products across the world. CHEP works with leading OEMs and Tier1s across all continents and work with over 5,000 customers worldwide from 60+ automotive service centres.

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