In its 2001 Position Paper on freight transport, the EU emphasised the need for the harmonisation and standardisation of 'loading units'. It even views the lack thereof as an important obstacle to achieving intermodal transport. Whereby the EU lends its support to the aim of achieving an optimum intermodal concept.

According to the EU, the 20 and 40ft containers are not satisfactory because they do not provide optimum cargo capacity for ISO pallets and do not take full advantage of the maximum dimensions permitted for transport by land. Swap bodies are not an option because of their fragile construction, lack of seaworthiness and the fact that they cannot be lifted by spreaders.

The optimal intermodal transport unit combines the advantages of a container and a swap body, but is also suitable for handling conventional transport units between now and such time as a complete intermodal infrastructure has been established. A general-purpose dry-cargo box that can also be loaded from the side, is the most suitable basic design.

UNIT45 sees its palletwide highcube productrange as the only answer to the European Union's intermodal aspirations.

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