European Shipping Week to target incorrect container packing

The second European Shipping Week takes place in Brussels from 27th February to 2nd March, including a focus on the correct packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) and the safety issues that result from poor practice.

The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, and Magda Kopczynska from the European Commission’s DG MOVE, the directorate responsible for freight transport safety within the EU, will join industry leaders to speak at a seminar on the opening day of the event. The seminar has been arranged by the same alliance of industry organisations that drove compliance with the verified container gross mass requirements to the forefront: shipper association the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the cargo handling group ICHCA, international freight insurer TT Club and liner shipping organisation World Shipping Council (WSC).

An analysis of TT Club’s insurance claims records suggests that 65% of damages to cargo result from poorly packed, blocked or secured cargo in CTUs, particularly freight containers. “Yet this points to only a fraction of the extent of a significant safety problem surrounding poor packing” stated TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox. “TT Club, along with our fellow industry representatives, are concerned that preventable incidents, both on land (road and rail) and at sea, arise from badly packed CTUs. The safety of workers, particularly those unloading units at destination, is also at considerable risk. Safe industry packing and securing guidance must be disseminated and followed.”

The seminar, entitled ‘Safety in the Intermodal Supply Chain: Promoting IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code)’ will endeavour to raise the profile of the issues.

“It is now over two years since the three UN bodies that sponsored the CTU Code approved its content,” said ICHCA’s Captain Richard Brough OBE. “While a non-mandatory Code of Practice, it is now thoroughly referenced in the IMDG Code. The entire freight industry must recognise that this detailed guidance may now be seen as representing industry best practice.”