NMLU solution

New Modular Load Units and Cluster Handling Technology solution

Target Market sector: Shippers and Retailers of Consumer Goods

Client profile: Large Shippers, and retailers of CPGs (Consumer Packaged Goods)

The target profiles are the companies who, inside FMCG, have a market high weight. Decisional power on all levels is required because the decision to adopt new load units and handling solutions entails a significant redesign o

f supply chain processes, impacting on logistics equipment, infrastructure as well as execution and planning decisions on short-, medium- and long-term horizons.

Problem to solve: Global inefficiencies and limitations of current packaging solutions. Including:

  • Poor fill levels of packing units and transportation means (42,6% average utilization of trucks and containers at departure);
  • Poor utilization of storage space in warehouses and terminals;
  • Handling inefficiencies (time spent to pack /repack of products to feed cargo into different partners’ systems);
  • Security and safety risks due to discontinuities in the handling process
  • Limitations to expand the range of products and destinations, due to difficult adaptation to different handling systems and storage formats along the chain;
  • Environmental impact due to inefficient resources utilisation, in terms of higher energy consumption and CO2

Value Proposition: Ship more efficiently, with more flexibility and better quality of service. The NMLU solution enables shippers and logistic services providers to:

  • Increase load factors of boxes, containers and vehicles. NMLUs allow better fill rates (less void space) and can be easily combined, loaded and unloaded to increase load factor.
  • Bundle cargo of individual company or collaborating partners to enable intermodal transport. Allowing to ship goods directly to destination
  • Enable Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments for both small and large companies. NMLUs can be filled by product and customer at the plant and then bundled for transport
  • Increase handling efficiency. Modularization reduces non-value-added handling activities.
  • Increase first/last-mile delivery efficiency enabling innovative city logistics solutions.

Solution: New Modular Load Unit (NMLU) with innovative handling and transshipment technology. The solution consists of a new Modular Load Unit (NMLU) at sub-container level, with the following key features:

  • NMLU dimensions are in line with those of containers: 20 or 40 feet mainly used for deep-sea transport, and 45 feet mainly used hinterland/land or short-sea transport. Thus, no changes are required on current equipment used for loading/transport/unloading units.
  • NMLUs enable standardization and modularization along the supply chain, allowing smaller and modular loading units to be combined in a larger loading unit.
  • NMLUs improve reverse logistics, facilitating collection and storage of empty units.
  • NMLUs can be handled on the same level as pallets, allowing consumer goods to be packed on the production line without further handling until delivery to the end customer or hub


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Clusters 2.0 project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723265

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