Global groups working together for container safety improvements

Groups want better cargo safety standards through the global supply chain

Global groups working together for container safety improvements


By Ryan Smith

Five international freight transport and cargo handling organisations are collaborating on the creation of new guidance on packing standards for freight containers and other cargo transport units.

The Container Owners Association, the Global Shippers Forum, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association, the TT Club and the World Shipping Council are working together on a range of activities to promote the adoption and implementation of safety practices throughout the global supply chain, the groups said in a statement.

As part of the collaboration, the organisations have published a “Quick Guide” to the United Nations-sponsored Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (the CTU Code), along with a checklist of actions and responsibilities for those packing cargo in freight containers. One of the aims of the collaboration is to promote awareness and wider use of the CTU Code.

There have been several “widely reported” container fires aboard ships, and containerised cargo may have been the cause of, or a contributing factor to, those fires, the organisations said. The organisations believe that consistent adherence to the CTU Code by all parties within global CTU supply chains would “significantly reduce” such incidents, some of which have resulted in serious injuries and death among ships’ crews and shore-side staff.

“Other occurrences, such as container stack failures, vehicle roll-overs, train derailments, internal cargo collapses and incidents of invasive pest contamination, can also be traced to poor packing practices,” the organisations said.

The organisations, working together as the Cargo Integrity Group, have identified four areas of activity to improve understanding of safe cargo packing practices:

  • Promoting awareness and adoption of the CTU Code.
  • Seeking regulatory changes, including to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, to improve clarity, application, implementation and enforcement of regulations.
  • Monitoring of CTU packing performance through support for strengthened cargo screening processes and more effective container inspection regimes.
  • Working with other industry and governmental stakeholders to promote awareness and understanding of safe cargo packing and handling processes.

“A key objective of our mission is promoting awareness of the CTU Code,” said Capt. Richard Brough OBE of ICHCA International. “We have a dedicated set of outcomes designed to achieve this aim, which begins with the publication of our ‘CTU Code – a Quick Guide’. 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.”

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