Container ship fires and explosions in port storage facilities continue to be the result of poorly packed and misdeclared hazardous materials as they move through the global supply chain. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently signed by two influential industry bodies, ICHCA International and IVODGA adds impetus to disseminating effective guidance on the correct safety procedures that need to be employed. According to international transport and logistics insurer TT Club, it is estimated that a major containership fire incident at sea occurs on average every 60 days.
The MOU has been signed by ICHCA International, representative of global cargo handling operators, including many of the leading cargo and container terminal groups, and the International Vessel Operators Dangerous Goods Association (IVODGA), whose membership consists of the world’s ocean carriers.
The collaboration of these two expert bodies, whose influence spans the globe will be significant in producing clearly defined guidelines to best practice based on years of practical experience in handling dangerous goods. They will work closely on joint projects to improve standards across numerous common safety issues affecting the transport of dangerous goods.
Richard Steele, CEO of ICHCA International notes, “The extraordinary disaster in Beirut last August was an all too unwelcome wake-up call to everyone involved in the transport, storage and distribution of dangerous materials. However, similar incidents, smaller in proportion, yet damaging to life and limb as well as property happen across the supply chain on a frequent basis. The mutual cooperation of IVODGA and ICHCA will be aimed at the universal understanding and application of measures for the safe handling and storage of a range of goods with potential to cause explosions, fires and noxious gas emissions etc.”
Uffe V. Ernst Frederiksen, A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S, Vice Chair of IVODGA and Special Adviser to ICHCA International, comments, “The mutual goals and the shared respect of our two organisations will quickly result in a positive contribution to a clear and efficient communication between not just our respective members but crucially across all stakeholders in the supply chain whose interests touch any and all hazardous materials.”
About ICHCA International
Established in 1952, ICHCA International is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the safety, productivity and efficiency of cargo handling and movement worldwide. ICHCA’s privileged NGO status enables it to represent its members, and the cargo handling industry at large, in front of national and international agencies and regulatory bodies, while its Technical Panel provides best practice advice and develops publications on a wide range of practical cargo handling issues.
The International Vessel Operators Dangerous Goods Association (IVODGA) is an international organization comprised of representatives of the ocean common carriers of the world, operating under the flags of several nations, dedicated to improving the understanding and uniform application of rules and regulations governing maritime Hazardous Materials / Dangerous Goods Transportation, including the IMDG Code. Collectively, IVODGA members are responsible for the
safe transportation of over 75% of the ocean borne container traffic internationally.