B ULK D ISTRIBUTOR
Book it right, pack it tight
raft of guidelines – and warnings – about potentially
dangerous cargoes were published either side of
Christmas and New Year.
Insurance mutuals are urging the container shipping industry and
participants in the global supply chain it serves to give ever more
serious attention to the causes and consequences of ship fires,
jointly issuing a guide outlining the responsibilities of all
stakeholders in reducing risk.
1 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, 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 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.
Stuart Edmonston, UK P&I’s loss prevention director, stated: “As
mutuals, our chief aim is to minimise risk for our members and the
industry we serve. 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 that 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
TT Club sees its core contribution as seeking 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,”
observed 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 rightly be described
as dangerous in a regulated sense and, here, in compliance with the
For carriers Uffe Ernst-Frederiksen, head of cargo management at
Maersk Line and chairman of the Cargo Incident Notification System
(CINS) said he found the publication to be “tremendously useful and
if only people would read one book this year that it should be this
The recent spate of container ship
fires has been a major concern to
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 comprises representatives of container
shipping lines that together control over 85 percent 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 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.
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More specifically, CINS also published new guidelines on the
carriage of seed cake in containers.
‘Seed Cake’ is the term used for pulp, meals, cake, pellets,
expellers and other similar cargo, where edible vegetable oils have
been removed from oil-bearing seeds, cereals or commodities with
similar properties. It is principally used in animal feeds.
Oil and moisture in seed cake cargoes can cause self-heating.
Microbiological self-heating, driven by the inherent moisture
content, can raise the temperature of the cargo to a point where
oxidation of the residual oil occurs.
While all self-heating is usually initially slow, CINS points out,
oxidative self-heating can be much faster than microbiological
heating and may raise the temperature high enough for the cargo
to ignite spontaneously.
The carriage of seed cake cargoes continues to cause confusion
and the potential for misdeclaration remains high, CINS maintains.
The guidelines, published jointly with the International Group of
P&I Clubs, identifies practices intended to improve safety and to
ensure that it is declared, packaged and carried properly.
Modest outlook for
he outlook for the container shipping market remains soft
despite the welcome boost of the ‘phase one’ trade
agreement signed by the US and China, according to Drewry’s
latest Container Forecaster report.
Drewry is now predicting that world container port throughput will
increase by 3.3 percent in 2020, following an estimated 2.3 percent
rise last year. The current year forecast represents a downgrade of
0.7 points on the previous outlook given at the end of September
“A swift and amicable end to the US-China trade dispute has the
potential to give the global economy a boost,” said Simon Heaney,
senior manager, container research at Drewry and editor of the
Container Forecaster. “However, that outcome is still only a
tantalising possibility and much more work is needed to be done to
secure a more permanent trading arrangement between two
countries that have a number of seemingly intractable differences to
“It’s a step in the right direction that removes one layer of
uncertainty, but as with previous truces the foundations are flimsy
and there is still a reasonably high chance that hostilities will be
resumed,” he added.
The report also highlights the risk of further protectionist policies
on the container market.