Five international freight transport and cargo handling organisations have published a Quick Guide to the United Nations sponsored Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (the CTU Code), together with a checklist of actions and responsibilities for those involved. It is part of a range of activities to further the adoption and implementation of crucial safety practices by the Container Owners Association, the Global Shippers Forum, the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association, the TT Club and the World Shipping Council.
With several container fires aboard ships recently, some of them fatal, the organisations believe that adherence to the CTU Code by all parties would significantly reduce incidents.
Container stack failures, vehicle roll-overs, train derailments, internal cargo collapses and even pest contamination can also be traced to poor packing, they say.
Improving understanding of the CTU Code’s many requirements is central to the work of the group, as Capt. Richard Brough OBE of ICHCA International explained: “A key objective of our mission is promoting awareness of the CTU Code. We have a dedicated set of outcomes designed to achieve this aim, which begins with the publication of our ‘CTU Code – a Quick Guide’. We want the Code to be as accessible to as many operatives as possible and hope this Quick Guide will encourage them to learn how the Code can be applied to their own particular needs.”
Lars Kjaer from WSC commented on another of the group’s objectives: “We believe it is important to pro-actively review and, where needed, revise existing regulatory provisions to enhance ship, crew and worker safety.”
Significant steps have been made in recent months with initiatives to screen cargo effectively, particularly responding to the concerns over the misdeclaration of shipments.
“Carriers have been advancing their capability to screen cargo at the time of booking in order to combat the curses of error and fraud that cause misdeclarations and unacceptable risk for the industry,” TT Club’s Peregrine Storrs-Fox said.
“Such actions can also support and empower industry and government sponsored container inspection programmes that are fundamental to improving good practice and understanding how regulations actually operate. It is thus part of CIG’s third objective to participate in the ongoing revision of the IMO Circular regarding container inspection programmes and support related industry cargo screening initiatives.”
Uffe Ernst-Frederiksen of the Container Owners Association commented on a further key aspect of the new documented: “The IMO/ILO/UNECE CTU Code describes in chapter 4 the roles and responsibilities of parties in the container supply chain for the safe packing, handling, stowage and transport of containers and the correct reporting of their actual weights.”
“However, often overlooked is that the CTU Code also deals with supply chain parties’ responsibilities to minimize visible pest contamination from containers and their cargoes. It is therefore appropriate that the material we are publishing today draws attention to this important issue, stressing that minimizing pest contamination of containers and their cargoes is a shared responsibility.”
“Our material also makes reference to guidance material recently developed and published by the IPPC’s Sea Container Task Force of which COA is a member that aims at assisting parties in the containerized supply chains in trying to ensure that containers and their cargoes remain free from visible pest contamination. One of the key objectives of the SCTF is to promote voluntary government-industry cooperation on minimizing pest contamination of CTUs. Our five organizations fully support this objective and call on all parties in the international containerized supply chains to actively support and participate in such voluntary programs,” Ernst-Frederiksen added.
James Hookham of GSF said: “Today is a marker on a journey to raise wider awareness of this critical issue across the globe and adoption of safe practices. Our organisations cannot do this on their own and we are reaching out to other bodies in the supply chain and in governmental agencies to join with us in promoting high standards of the packing of all cargo transport units and understanding the inter-connectedness of differing objectives”.