Bill Pawluk is CEO of Convertible Concepts,
What is Convertible Concepts and what do you do?
Pawluk: Today’s conventional auto carrier systems around the world are purpose-built to transport only vehicles. This means if a carrier transports vehicles from the point of origin to a dealership, for example, and there are no vehicles coming back to the point of origin (which is most often the case), then the auto carrier is forced to run home empty.
In North America, arguably the most highly developed auto logistics country in the world, auto carriers on average run empty 42 per cent of the time. This is the highest empty mile factor in the transportation sector, bar none, and it wastes approximately one million gallons of fuel daily in the U.S. alone. This is an industry-wide bad habit on a global scale that needs to stop.
Convertible Concepts Corp. (CCC) is a company that focuses on educating the automotive and general freight industries by promoting innovative and disruptive technologies and methodologies that can greatly improve the overall efficiency of the entire transportation industry.
Our group of companies that are aligned under the management of CCC each offer respective solutions to the industry. These companies consist of convertible (auto) transport trailers with our company Convertible Trailer Manufacturing (CTM WW); convertible re-usable packaging with our company AutoBox Manufacturing Corp. (ABMC); and the logistics component through our company Convertible Logistics Corp. (CLC).
Our proprietary logistics software tool CLIC, was created specifically to identify optimized routes and flows with the utilization of Convertible equipment.
Tell me about the recent agreement you’ve made with China?
Pawluk: As of the third quarter of 2018, CTM WW has signed a memorandum of understanding with Changjiu Special Vehicle Group to create a partnership and JV (joint venture). Together, these two companies will develop and manufacture many different convertible trailer models for markets worldwide. Changjiu Logistics is the largest independent finished vehicle logistics provider in China, and the first Chinese automotive logistics company to go public.
Relying on comprehensive regional distribution centres and hub service networks, Changjiu provides a complete supply chain service including logistics planning, pickup and consolidation, warehousing, packaging, a trans-Eurasia block train, and delivery and distribution of both finished vehicles and spare parts.
As one of the companies within the Changjiu Group, Changjiu Special Vehicle Co. specializes in large-scale manufacturing, developing, producing and selling car carrier and logistics equipment. It’s the leading enterprise of the domestic centre-axle-steered car carrier.
Due to recent legislative changes in China, there is now a national requirement to replace all pre-existing auto carrier equipment that no longer comply with the transportation regulations. This equates to an immediate need for over 75,000 new auto carriers across the country.
Our primary focus with our new partnership with Changjiu is to complete the engineering and design for the China Convertible Trailer and capitalize on this massive market opportunity. Such quick and widespread distribution into a market of this size will also provide great advantages with such large scale proof of concept.
Changjiu’s newest plant in Chuzhou has the technology and capacity to have now made Changjiu the largest auto carrier manufacturer in the world. They have the ability to produce 25 to 30 full trailers per day, with plenty of room for expansion and growth. Through our partnership, Changjiu will have exclusive manufacturing rights to supply all of China, as well as first opportunity to supply complete-knock down (CKD) units for markets worldwide.
What will this mean for the company?
Pawluk: Due to Changjiu’s capacity and technological capabilities with their new plant in Chuzhou, this equates to many benefits for CTM WW.
Changjiu can build quality equipment faster than any other plant in the world and at a cost that will allow us to be very competitive with the traditional equipment in any market worldwide today. Having our manufacturing all done under one roof will help streamline our quality control and deliver a more consistent product.
CCC intends to be the thought leader in best practice methodologies in the automotive and general freight logistics verticals around the world by supporting, fostering and developing ideas that improve logistic efficiencies.
Given Changjiu’s broad involvement in supply chain, logistics and their development of distribution centres across China and beyond, a partnership with them now could grow into many other initiatives together beyond manufacturing.
Can you explain what the Convertible Trailer system is and who is your target market?
Pawluk: The CTM Convertible Trailer converts from a conventional auto hauler to a versatile flatbed in minutes. Through this unique backhaul opportunity, it’s a transport solution that has the capability to greatly reduce the vast amount of waste in the transport industry worldwide, and create improved efficiencies on many levels.
Our patented transport trailer concept combines the features of auto-hauling and flatbed shipping trailers into a single convertible platform, allowing shipping carriers to maximize their operational efficiency by reducing empty backhauls, improving profitability, and reducing overall environmental impact. The technology is a full-sized transport trailer that can be expanded to two decks for hauling a full load of automobiles, collapsed flat to haul 40-foot shipping containers or other long cargo, or be deployed in a variety of deck configurations to haul any combination of cargo and automobiles.
The advantage of this trailer over conventional auto hauler trailers is that it can collapse completely flat, and is designed with additional structural bracing and engineered features to allow it to haul exceptionally heavy cargo loads up to 40,000 pounds.
The unique design accommodates a broader range of logistics and shipping options in the auto hauling industry to use the approximately 42 per cent unused capacity on conventional trailers which consistently run empty on the return trip from a delivery.
Automobile transport is an industry as old as the automobile itself. While we’ve seen significant improvements to the fuel efficiency and safety of automobiles themselves over the years, the backbone industry of delivering those vehicles to consumers has remained relatively static.
There are over 200,000 automobile transporter trailers in service globally that deliver approximately 90 million vehicles annually, and all of these assets spend nearly half of their time driving back empty. This equates to over $75 billion annually wasted on inefficient transport costs, and approximately 20 billion kilograms of needless CO2 emissions every year.
This project aims to address both the economic and environmental impact of this waste and to supply solutions to transportation markets worldwide.
As an entrepreneur, what are the biggest challenges you face today?
Pawluk: Our goal is not only to change the automotive industry through the use of our hardware, but to change the way the entire transportation industry operates by creating a more transparent environment where companies of all kinds work together to achieve supply chain efficiencies never before realized.
Changing an entire industry in this way is no small task and as such, industry-wide education and acceptance has been our biggest challenge. The concept may not be complex but implementation is no easy feat. Financial support and investment have therefore also been one of our largest and ongoing challenges.
Developing multiple products simultaneously, while having the required team and manpower to execute a worldwide initiative, takes significant financial backing. Finding the right investors who can see the big picture and appreciate the full scope of the opportunity is an ongoing focus for our company.
– Mario Toneguzzi