European Shipping Week will take place in Brussels from 27 February to 2 March, and there, delegates will focus on the correct packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) and the safety issues that result from poor work practices.
The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, and Magda Kopczynska from the European Commission’s DG MOVE, which is the directorate responsible for freight transport safety within the EU, will join industry leaders to speak at a seminar on Monday 27 February. The seminar has been arranged by the same alliance of industry organisations that successfully brought compliance with the verified container gross mass requirements to the forefront: shipper association the Global Shippers Forum (GSF); the cargo handling group ICHCA; international freight insurer TT Club and liner shipping organisation World Shipping Council (WSC).
An analysis of TT Club’s insurance claims records suggests that 65 per cent of damages to cargo result from poorly packed, blocked or secured cargo in CTUs, particularly freight containers. ‘Yet this points to only a fraction of the extent of a significant safety problem surrounding poor packing’ states TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox. ‘TT Club, along with our fellow industry representatives are concerned that preventable incidents, both on land (road and rail) and at sea, arise from badly packed CTUs. The safety of workers, particularly those unloading units at destination, is also at considerable risk. Safe industry packing and securing guidance must be disseminated and followed.’
The seminar, entitled, ‘Safety in the Intermodal Supply Chain: Promoting IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code)’ will endeavour to raise the profile of the issues. ‘It is now over two years since the three UN bodies that sponsored the CTU Code approved its content,’ comments ICHCA’s Captain Richard Brough OBE. ‘While a non-mandatory Code of Practice, it is now thoroughly referenced in the IMDG Code. The entire freight industry must recognise that this detailed guidance may now be seen as representing industry best practice.’
The importance of awareness across the entire supply chain of these dangers is a point emphasised by Chris Welsh MBE, Secretary General of GSF, ‘The responsibility of all those working in the supply chain, shippers, packers, forwarders, warehouse operators and transport providers of all modes and in all countries is clearly set out in the Code. This responsibility for the safety of cargo loads and those handling them does not cease when the doors of the trailer or container are closed’, he emphasises.
The quartet of seminar sponsors is completed by the participation of the ocean carriers’ organisation, WSC. Its Senior Vice President, Lars Kjaer is keen to highlight the senior level of speakers that have committed to attend the Seminar, ‘The IMO’s Secretary-General, Kitack Lim has demonstrated his commitment to improving safety in global transport and we are delighted that he is adding weight to our efforts to promote the CTU Code and associated initiatives. In addition to industry leaders, we will also have the key involvement of DG MOVE, whose role in encouraging the Member States to promote the Code and a safety culture and best practices will be important for enhancing safety in the supply chain,’ he concludes.