Plastic bins as a service rather than a product

One of the most ubiquitous pieces of equipment used by the fish and seafood industry is the plastic tub. They are used for storage, for transport, for salting and marinating, and for collecting waste. Tubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are also made of different materials depending on the use to which they are put, and the environment in which they are deployed, for example, containers used on board may need to be more robust than those intended for a land-based facility.

Managing transport is a key part of the iTUB network. The company collects empty tubs from fish buyers, cleans them and ships them back to users.

Plastic tubs are typically made of polyethylene and are built to withstand all the demands placed on them. As a result they may last 10-12 years if handled properly. Most companies do not buy their complete requirement of tubs at one go, but in smaller batches every two or three years. There are however other models whereby companies do not buy their own tubs, but instead use a service that allows them to rent a number of tubs for a certain period of time. The service company owns the tubs and is responsible for their maintenance and if necessary can also arrange for delivery, pick up, and cleaning.

 

Tracking through embedded chips

One of the leading manufacturers of plastic tubs, Promens of Iceland, has joined forces with three Norwegian fishing companies to start a service called iTUB, which rents tubs to the European fishing industry for use at sea and on land. The tubs are tough insulated containers designed for use in the fishing and fish processing industries and feature rounded corners and edges to facilitate cleaning. The tubs are equipped with GPS chips that are automatically read by factory- or vehicle-based transceivers, which in turn send the data to a central database, where it can be accessed by users over the Internet. The whole system runs with Promens’ proprietary MIND software. MIND is automatic tracking and management system ensures traceability and real-time tracking of the container. It also monitors the continuous temperature measurements in the surroundings of the container. Currently there are three types of insulated tubs that can be rented of 460 l, 660 l and 700 l capacity with drainage holes and hoisting grips. The largest tub is also supplied with a lid and is specially designed for the herring industry.

Among the advantages of iTUB are that it reduces the capital expenditure of a company, allowing it to invest the money that would otherwise have been spent on tubs in some other equipment. Renting tubs means that it is also easy and quick to increase or decrease a company’s stock of tubs. At times of peak demand a company can order more tubs. Hilmar Gudmundsson, the Managing Director at iTUB, says a company may have a stock of say 500 tubs, but for three months in the year might need an additional 300 tubs. This extra capacity then can be rented instead of bought. This is a much more flexible solution, as the tubs can be returned again after three months saving the company from having to invest in largely superfluous capacity. Renting tubs is unlikely to ever replace owning tubs, but the two systems will co-exist and complement each other, feels Mr Gudmundsson, as companies’ needs change over time. Some companies indeed prefer to outsource the ownership and control of the tubs leaving iTUB to manage the stock. And whether their needs are great or modest, iTUB can respond to them. There is no limit on the size of companies that can make use of the service, emphasises Mr Gudmundsson, some of our clients rent just a few tubs, while others rent thousands.

 

The bigger the network the greater the savings

The tubs themselves are hygienic and easy to store, stack, and transport, and, being recycleable, are environmentally more benign than containers that are not. The company currently has rental locations in Norway, Denmark, France, the UK, and Iceland, and is planning to expand the number of locations in the future as demand for the service grows. The bigger the network of clients using iTUB the greater are the potential savings as tubs are transported from one end of Europe to another and back full of product in both directions.

For more information contact:

Hilmar Gudmundsson

Managing Director

iTUB Iceland

Gunnarsbraut 12

IS-620 Dalvik

Phone: +354 460 5041
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www.itub.no