Global freight transport and cargo handling groups collaborate on container safety improvements

Global freight transport and cargo handling groups collaborate on container safety improvements
The organisations have published a 'Quick Guide' to the CTU code

Five major international freight transport and cargo handling organisations have collaborated on the production of new guidance on packing standards for freight containers and other transport units.

Co-operating on a range of activities to further the adoption and implementation of crucial safety practices throughout the global supply chain are the Container Owners Association (COA), the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA), TT Club and the World Shipping Council (WSC).

Lars Kjaer, senior vice president of WSC, said: “We believe it is important to pro-actively review and, where needed, revise existing regulatory provisions to enhance ship, crew and worker safety.”

The five organisations have already published a ‘Quick Guide’ to the United Nation (UN)’s sponsored Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (the CTU Code) along with a checklist of actions and responsibilities for the packing of cargoes in freight containers specifically.

Captain Richard Brough OBE of ICHCA International added: “We want the code to be as accessible to as many operatives as possible and hope this quick guide will encourage them to learn how the code can be applied to their own particular needs.”

This is in line with one of the aims of the collaborative group, which is dedicated to improving the safety, security and environmental performance throughout the logistics supply chain, to promote awareness and wider use of the CTU code.

Containerised cargoes may have been the cause of, or contributed to, some of the widely reported container fires aboard ships.

The five organisations believe that consistent, widespread and diligent adherence to the CTU code by all parties within CTU supply chains would significantly reduce these types of incidents, wome of which have resulted in fatalities and serious injuries amongst ships’ crews and shore-side staff.

Poor packing practices can also be seen to be the cause of other occurrences such as container stack failures, vehicle roll-overs, train derailments, internal cargo collapses and invasive pest contamination incidents.

A greater awareness of the CTU code and the packing practices and techniques it containers would help to reduce such incidents, the organisations believe.

Working together as the Cargo Integrity Group, the organisations have identified four areas of activity to raise awareness and improve understanding of safe cargo practices.

These include promoting awareness and adoption of the CTU Code, seeking changes in regulatory requirements to improve their clarity, application, implementation and enforcement including to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

Monitoring of CTU packing performance through support for strengthened cargo screening processes and more effective container inspection regimes and working with other industry and governmental stakeholders in promoting awareness are included as well.

Secretary General of GSF James Hookman said: “Our organisations cannot do this on their own and we are reaching out to other bodies in the supply chain and in governmental agencies to join with us in promoting high standards of the packing of all cargo transport units and understanding the inter-connectedness of differing objectives.”