IN JANUARY 2005, Garry Whyte was at Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, listening as they complained that one of their containers had been broken into.
Infused with what he calls “the Nike spirit” as he was driving back to the office of his company, CakeBoxx LLC, in nearby Aurora, he studied a container traveling in the lane next to him on the freeway.
“I thought, ‘Nike can handle whole containers, and that means they could handle the four walls and the top of a container, and if we removed the doors and welded them shut, so to speak, with the wall back there, they'd have an impregnable container that'd be immune from pilfering,’” he says. “Then I started researching the practicality. It turned out to be reasonably practical. Eventually, it was a feature of that design — the quick searchability — that I hadn't really intended. Now that's the main focus of almost everybody involved in this.”
In December, at the world's leading container tradeshow, Intermodal, in Hamburg, Germany, CakeBoxx unveiled what it calls the world's first doorless intermodal cargo container and indicated it would immediately accelerate the execution of its strategy to build the first doorless intermodal cargo containers.
Whyte says that according to a recent study conducted by the RAND Corporation, only 5% of containers entering the US are scanned or X-rayed, and only 5% of those are then inspected by hand. He believes that the current global cargo container system is one of the biggest security vulnerabilities facing ports and supply chains across the world.
He believes that with its patent-pending doorless design, the CakeBoxx container will be the world's first intermodal container set to tackle one of the biggest security threats facing global economies, which have grown dependent on overseas trade through the current global containerized transportation system.
Whyte says CakeBoxx's container reduces significant terrorism risks presently facing the containerized global supply chain at ports, distribution centers, manufacturers, and retailers. Once a CakeBoxx container is closed, nothing will get out — or in — whether the container is onboard a ship, in a stack of containers at the port, or on a railcar or truck. The interior of the container can't be accessed without specialized container handling equipment.
During customs or security screenings, the cargo inside the container can be easily accessed — and quickly and fully inspected — by authorized personnel using commonly available container handling equipment.
“Most of the pilfering is accomplished by simply snapping the lock off with bolt cutters or taking the hinge pins off the door,” Whyte says. “In order to gain access to the cargo with a CakeBoxx, you need to be able to lift a couple of tons and get it out of the way — and that's not something people driving around looking for victims are usually able to do. If you're an organized group, you could park it under a bridge and lift it up with pulleys. But that would be conspicuous. That's a key concept with the customs people because currently people can inconspicuously insert things into a container in the same manner they inconspicuously remove them from a container. That's a big security risk.
“Approximately 90% of global trade is shipped via intermodal cargo containers, and any disruption of the steady flow of container transport would have a devastating impact on international economies. Our container will not only dramatically improve port security, but it will also greatly reduce the opportunity for theft, vandalism, and smuggling, ultimately helping global companies improve efficiency and tackle some of the most serious issues facing cargo shipping worldwide.”
Loaded like flatbed
CakeBoxx containers can be loaded and unloaded from all sides, just like a flatbed trailer, dramatically reducing the amount of time needed to load, unload, and trans-pack cargo. Whyte says these velocity gains, especially when combined with the potential for streamlined port inspections and operations, mean tightened shipping schedules and greater throughput, which translates to greater profits.
He says the manufacturing process — the top section, and everything but the lower 9” — is almost exactly the same.
“We have a bit more strength in the corner columns,” he says. “We're especially stronger on the back two corner columns because in a normal container, the hinges compete for space and strength, and the customer would like the opening to be as wide as possible for pallet access, whereas insurance companies would like the steel to be as thick as possible. We're stronger back there because we don't have any hinges competing with strength requirements. The bottom part is straightforward.
“We'll probably encourage shipping lines — who have long relationships with existing manufacturers, typically in China — to use the same manufacturers to make these boxes. Here in Oregon, we will make domestic consumption boxes. Ninety percent of containers are manufactured in China, and it'll be the same with CakeBoxxes.”
Whyte has partnered with experts in maritime security, cargo container design, and production, and international shipping and distribution. CakeBoxx is led by: Whyte, the founder who has worked closely with the CEOs of large international companies dependent on the global supply chain for their day-to-day operations; Jeff Strickler, the company's COO, who has over 20 years of work with high-growth companies, with particular emphasis on finance, operations, and strategic acquisitions and integration; and Thorsten Hoins, vice president of marketing, who contributes two decades of experience in traditional and alternative marketing strategies.
CakeBoxx's advisors include: Michael Jordan, CEO of Liftech Consultants Inc, one of the designers of the first shipside container crane and hundreds of container cranes since then; US Navy Rear Admiral Joe Carnevale (retired), with over 20 years experience in defense procurement, acquisitions, and marine systems; and Gary Cardwell, divisional vice president of Northwest Container Services, the Pacific Northwest's full-service logistics provider.
Whyte says he will be testing prototypes through the end of February.
“We have an arrangement with a manufacturer here and will test them in a real-commerce environment — even as far as going across the Atlantic and back, loaded with cargo,” he says.