Levels of Empty Container Repositioning

Geographical Levels of Empty Container Repositioning

Source: adapted from Boile, M., S. Theofanis, A. Baveja and N. Mittal (2008) “Regional repositioning of empty containers: A case for inland depots”, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

The repositioning of empty containers takes place at three geographical levels:

  • Global repositioning involves the mitigation of trans-oceanic trade imbalances from surplus (import-oriented) to deficit (export-oriented) areas using ports as gateways.
  • Inter-regional repositioning concerns the repositioning of containers within extensive areas (such as continents) using intermodal rail or short sea shipping. They concern connections between inland terminals and ports.
  • Regional repositioning mainly concerns drayage operations between intermodal terminals, empty container depots (or inland terminals) and major freight distribution clusters, often within the same metropolitan area.