As part of its on-going campaign to improve standards of the safe packing of unit loads, including shipping containers, specialist freight transport insurer, TT Club has issued specific guidelines on packing and securing coiled materials in containers. In general, investigations into incidents along the international supply chain – whether on roads, rail, inland waterway or at sea – can often be attributed to poor practices in the packing of cargo transport units (CTUs) and coiled materials are a particular hazard.
As a leading insurer of international container transport TT Club has dealt with many incidents where coils, mostly of steel, have been improperly packed and insufficiently secured in the container, leading to the cargo shifting inside the unit and usually breaking out, resulting in injuries or damage to property. The packing process is critical given the forces exerted on the freight during a typical journey, such as braking or turning of a road vehicle, variable handling techniques at port terminals and significant, sometimes violent motions of a ship at sea. The consequences of these types of forces on poorly packed cargo will, of course, vary from over-turned trucks, to train derailment and damaged cranes to containers lost overboard and damage to the ship. Coils have even been known to break through the floor of a carrying unit and escaped into traffic. In short, improperly secured coil materials can have significant and fatal consequences.
“Such experiences led us to collaborate with the CINS Organisation – a significant safety-based initiative set up by major container shipping lines,” explains TT Club’s Peregrine Storrs-Fox, “In order to update and expand our earlier ‘Stop Loss’ briefing guide, which addressed carriage of metal coils.”
The freely available revised guidelines, ‘Transport of Coiled Materials in Containers’, focus attention on how a container packer can understand the risks involved through the supply chain in order to ensure that the coils are packed and secured successfully. Equally, while recognising that there are a number of proprietary solutions available, these guidelines specifically support less sophisticated operations reliant primarily on timber for load distribution and bracing, where the greatest risk exposure has been seen.
“A convergence of interests between TT Club and maritime carriers involved in the CINS Organisation in relation to incidents involving coiled materials has led to this collaboration and we are keen to extend the knowledge it contains, as well as engender further training of cargo packers throughout the global shipper and forwarder community,” comments Patrick Hicks, CINS General Secretary.
Nor do the pleas of TT Club and CINS relating to proper cargo packing end with coiled materials. Both organisations are anxious to promote adherence to the CTU Code. General concerns about packing failures led to the development of the CTU Code (‘IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units’), a publication sponsored by the three relevant UN agencies, being the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Despite all the available information, it is inevitable that specific good practice will develop in relation to certain cargo types. The transport of coiled materials falls into such a category. This particular initiative displays how the CTU Code can be applied in practice. The nature of the international supply chain is such that there are many instances where packers may require additional guidance for the specific cargo that is to be packed in a container, a trailer or a railcar.
TT Club is planning a seminar, together with Global Shippers Forum, ICHCA and World Shipping Council, at the outset of the European Shipping Week in Brussels at the end of February, to give prominence internationally and within individual jurisdictions to the CTU Code.
Source: TT Club