London, 26th November 2014 – Last week saw the International Maritime Organization’s Maritime Safety Committee (IMO MSC) finalise work on two measures that are significant for standards of safety in the unit load industry, be it maritime or land-based. International transport insurance provider, TT Club however, believes that while the IMO’s recent actions are significant, they are but two stakes that begin to mark out the ground for what needs to done in developing safety throughout the supply chain.
The adoption by the IMO of the amendment to SOLAS (the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea) concerning verification of gross mass for containers is welcomed. Such verification will become mandatory in July 2016. The implications of this modest change are reverberating through the international transport community, emphasising as it does shippers’ responsibility to declare gross mass accurately and clarifying the means by which this can be done.
Much work remains to be done by the relevant governmental authorities worldwide to deliver uniform enforcement. Yet prior to this, consistency of both ways and means of carrying out either of the two methods of weight verification outlined in the amendment must be developed throughout the supply chain and across the globe. Perhaps even more importantly, those contracting to carry or handle container cargo need urgently to identify how each will develop compliance. The IMO’s move has implications for all parties involved in unit load transportation.
The second welcome ‘stake’ is the approval, with immediate global effect as a non-mandatory Code of Practice, of the CTU Code and its related ‘Informative Material’. While only some jurisdictions may enshrine the code in national legislation, the entire freight industry must recognise that this detailed guidance for the safe packing of unit loads may now be used in litigation to demonstrate good practice. The TT Club wishes to stress forcefully that all parties need to develop ways to implement and encourage compliance with the CTU Code.*
TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox has for some time been drawing the industry’s attention to the consequences, including bodily injuries, of inappropriate load distribution and badly secured cargo within CTUs (Cargo Transport Units). He asserts, “Increased levels of training of those employed by shippers, consolidators, warehouses and depots to pack containers, road trailers and other transport units is now essential.”
TT Club’s views are supported by both the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA) and developer of e-learning training courses for the transport industry, Exis Technologies. ICHCA will be repeating its successful and informative CTU Roadshow, first held in Harwich earlier this year, in Hull in the New Year, the date of which will be confirmed shortly. Exis Technologies was commissioned by TT Club to develop the CTUpack e-learning™ course**, which was launched in January 2014. This foundation course provides lessons focusing on the issues most relevant to the packers of unit loads, including forces and stresses encountered during transport and how these impinge on the safe packing and securing cargo in a CTU.
Storrs-Fox advises, “Such training is clearly the number one loss prevention measure and, if adopted as a core feature of the operator’s culture, can greatly reduce the number of incidents incurred globally each year throughout the industry.”
These two elements begin to mark out new safety parameters and will undoubtedly, if adequately and consistently implemented, bring about some improvements through the supply chain. However more needs to be done particularly in the maritime mode.
TT Club is amongst those in the international shipping community who are urging attention to be focussed on the findings of the MARIN ‘Lashing@Sea’ investigation. While the issues highlighted in that report of cargo weight are in hand, others relating to ship planning, lashing, and dynamic ship-board information are extant. The recent initiative by ICHCA to hold a seminar on ‘Container Lashing and Securing’ in Rotterdam (10th Decemberhttp://www.etouches.com/
While recognising the complexity of international supply chain logistics and infrastructure, TT Club urges the relevant entities at IMO to seize all the issues that give rise to ‘unknown variables … [that] erode or eliminate the safety margins in place, ’ as succinctly described by the UK Maritime Accident Investigation Branch’s report on ‘MSC Napoli’ in 2008.
*The CTU Code can be downloaded from the UNECE website at http://www.unece.org/trans/
** CTUpack e-learning™ can be purchased directly from www.ctupack.com. There are discounts for courses purchased in quantity. Exis Technologies also sells Hazcheck Systems for the management of dangerous goods in sea transport www.hazcheck.com and online IMDG Code training courses www.imdge-learning.com
About ICHCA International
Established in 1952, ICHCA International is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the safety, productivity and efficiency of cargo handling and movement worldwide.
ICHCA’s privileged NGO status enables it to represent its members, and the cargo handling industry at large, in front of national and international agencies and regulatory bodies, while its ISP Technical Panel provides best practice advice and develops publications on a wide range of practical cargo handling issues. Operating through a series of national and regional chapters – including ICHCA Australia, ICHCA Japan and ICHCA Canarias/Africa (CARC) – plus Correspondence and Working Groups, ICHCA provides a focal point for informing, educating, lobbying and networking to improve knowledge and best practice across the cargo handling chain.
Follow ICHCA on Twitter @ICHCA2
About Exis Technologies
Exis Technologies, headquartered in Darlington, UK, is the leading supplier of compliance systems for the management of dangerous goods in sea transport and developer of e-learning training courses for the transport industry. For over 25 years major container shipping lines, ports and shippers have been relying on Hazcheck Systems for regulatory compliance, efficiency and safety in their global operations. They serve 80% of the top container lines. IMDG Code e-learning is a cost-effective training solution for shore side staff that has been implemented by half of the top 20 container lines as well as shippers and logistics operations worldwide. Exis will be launching a new range of courses for Amendment 37-14 training in December. CTUpack e-learning is the latest addition to their training courses. It is sponsored by the TT Club and approved by ICHCA.
About TT Club
The TT Club is the international transport and logistics industry’s leading provider of insurance and related risk management services. Established in 1968, the Club’s membership comprises ship operators, ports and terminals, road, rail and airfreight operators, logistics companies and container lessors. As a mutual insurer, the Club exists to provide its policyholders with benefits, which include specialist underwriting expertise, a world-wide office network providing claims management services, and first class risk management and loss prevention advice. TT Club is managed by Thomas Miller
About Thomas Miller
Thomas Miller is an independent and international provider of insurance, professional and investment services. Founded in 1885, Thomas Miller’s origins are in the provision of management services to mutual organisations, particularly in the international transport and professional indemnity sectors; where today they manage a large percentage of the foremost insurance mutuals. Thomas Miller also manages insurance facilities for all the self-employed barristers in England & Wales, as well as trustees of pension schemes, patent agents and housing associations.
Principal activities include:
- Management services for transport and professional indemnity insurance mutuals
- Investment management for institutions and private clients
- Professional services
- Building defects insurance