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Industry calls for action on container packing

[ September 26, 2017   //   ]

The Global Shippers Forum (GSF), ICHCA International, TT Club and World Shipping Council (WSC) called for government backing for the International Maritome Organisation (IMO)’s code of practice for container packing at London International Shipping Week in September.

GSF secretary general, Chris Welsh, told a meeting held at the IMO: “Our coalition epitomises the depth of industry cooperation that exists in ensuring the safety of operatives across the supply chain and the security of cargo; now there is clearly a greater need for action by national governments to support these industry initiatives.  In fact it is critical that governments play a role in effecting the more widespread use of the Code among those loading CTUs on a daily basis.”

TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox pointed out the importance of this awareness and enforcement of the Code, “The maritime freight container, in particular, has diversified the responsibility for safe cargo packing away from quaysides and docks.  Those packing containers at factories, warehouses and depots situated remotely from the port, or indeed from a railhead or other intermodal hub, are generally unaware of the consequences of a poorly packed steel coil and unsecured drum of hazardous chemicals.  As a specialist insurer, TT Club continually sees the sad repercussions of truck rollovers and train derailments, cargo spillages, and explosions and fires at ports or on-board ships.”

Credible statistics are hard to come by, partly due to a lack of engagement by state authorities with IMO’s container inspection standard, but ICHCA International’s Richard Brough suggested that there are potentially 25.9 million poorly packed containers a year that “could pose a danger at some point on their journey along the supply chain.”

Lars Kjaer, Senior Vice President of WSC drew attention to the need for carriers  to ensure that empty containers to be delivered for packing are clean and pest free – the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) has confirmed that pest contamination of containers and their cargoes is most likely to occur at the point of packing.

The four organisations added that a lack of training, language problems, the sheer density of the information contained in the Code, dramatic variations in the types of cargo now being carried in containers and the complexities of international supply chains are among the myriad challenges facing the industry in achieving widespread adoption.

 

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