The TOC Container Supply Chain Conference in Rotterdam, which takes place next week (25th – 27th June www.tocevents-europe.com) will be a major forum for critical players in the industry to discuss and hopefully reach a consensus on two major issues that are central to operator safety and cargo loss and damage in the handling of containers and their cargo. To this end TT Club will be hosting two Round Table discussions on the first day of the Conference
- Container packing: How can safety and security be improved?
- Container weighing: who bears responsibility for weight accuracy?
It is no surprise that the correct packing of containers is high on the agenda for industry bodies, regulators and insurers, as the consequences of unsafe and badly secured cargo are very serious. In fact, of all claims made by TT Club’s Members (policy holders), some 65% feature cargo loss or damage, and of these, over one-third result from poor packing. Yet international research has demonstrated that there is little awareness of the international guidelines for packing cargo. As various UN Organizations seek to tackle this, the TT Club is determined to focus the industry’s attention. This Round Table is one such effort.
TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, who will lead the debate emphasises the practical scenarios, “How often do those involved in packing cargo transport units (CTUs) – in the main trailers and containers – struggle to get a heavy item in and then believe that the cargo will never shift? How often are packages covering the majority of the floor of CTU not secured in the belief that, since there are few gaps, they will not move ‘much’? There are many examples of such inadequate awareness of the dynamic forces involved in international and intermodal transport”, he points out. “This inadequate awareness occurs far too frequently, many times associated with fatal consequences. It does not matter whether the cargo is classified as a ‘dangerous good’ or not; any cargo that is not properly packed and secured in the transport unit is a potential killer.”
In relation to container weighing, there is general consensus that the inaccuracy of weight declaration in the unit load industry compromises safety and efficiency. There is rather less agreement on how to implement changes that are appropriate and proportionate. TT Club will be hosting a second Round Table at the Rotterdam Conference to allow the debate to continue.
That the true weight of a high percentage of the 130 million TEU shipped around the world last year was not accurately known is in little doubt. What remains a matter of debate is the extent of these inaccuracies, the consequences regarding safety and dangerous incidents, and how regulations can be imposed to redress the situation.
“The Club is eager to engage all industry participants’ knowledge and appreciation of both these important and inter-related issues. Promoting good practice and initiatives to enhance safety is beneficial to the industry, not just in reducing injuries or damage but also in improving efficiency and supply chain sustainability”, concludes Storrs-Fox.