1st January this year saw mandatory enforcement of the latest version of the IMDG Code, Amendment 39-18. As the incorrect declaration, packing, handling and stowage of dangerous goods of all types is seen as a primary cause of many container ship fires, insurance mutuals UK P&I and TT Club have once more collaborated in publishing guidelines under the title ‘Book it Right and Pack it Tight’.
The guide, available free of charge, provides key insights for all actors in the freight supply chain responsible for preparing unitised consignments for carriage by sea. It gives an overview of the practical duties and responsibilities under the IMDG Code for each stakeholder.
“As mutuals, our chief aim is to minimise risk for our Members and the industry we serve,” says Stuart Edmonston, UK P&I’’s Loss Prevention Director. “The recent spate of container ship fires with the consequent loss of life, damage to ships and cargo, and trade disruption has been a major concern to ourselves and TT Club. UK P&I continues to participate in initiatives which focus on the capability to detect, suppress and extinguish fires at sea. However we share our sister organisation’s desire to tackle the causes of such fires at source.”
TT Club sees its core contribution to seek significant improvements in cargo declaration and packing. “As so often the case, fires and explosions are merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of problems, which are inherent throughout the supply chain,” observes Peregrine Storrs-Fox, TT Club’s Risk Management Director. “There are far too many errors in classification and declaration of commodities to be transported. These are often amplified by poor decisions and practices relating to packaging, packing, segregation and securing. Such errors severely compromise safety in a variety of ways, but most critically when the goods should be rightly be described as dangerous in a regulated sense and, here, in compliance the IMDG Code.”
Through its ‘Cargo Integrity’ Campaign TT Club has been for some time seeking to enhance awareness of the issues and to urge implementation of more rigorous practices relating to entering cargo into the supply chain. Its support of, and participation in CINS, is one such initiative. CINS is comprised of representative of container shipping lines which together control over 85% of the world’s container slot capacity.
A recent CINS report, which should be seen as complementary to ‘Book it Right and Pack it Tight’, demonstrates substantial effort by the industry to bring understanding to the complexities involved in the ship stowage processes. It seeks to develop a commonality of approach in order to improve safety. Entitled ‘Safety Considerations for Ship Operators Related to Risk‐Based Stowage of Dangerous Goods on Containerships’, it underlines the irrefutable fact that proper declaration is a paramount prerequisite.
One of the expert companies involved in the preparation of the CINS Risk Based Stowage report was Exis Technologies, whose input was focused around its detailed knowledge of the IMDG Code Dangerous Goods List and stowage requirements. In collaboration other industry experts Exis categorised each commodity on the List by UN Number, placing it in the appropriate Risk Zone as defined by the CINS Stowage guidelines. In order to further encourage the use of these guidelines, Exis has gifted the Hazcheck Risk Zone Data online as a free resource to all involved across the container supply chain.