SAFETY improvements across the entire international supply chain can be achieved through the proper packing, handling and transport of cargo transport units (CTUs), including containers, say members of an industry coalition that represents the global CTU freight industry.
Speaking at a special session of ICHCA International's 65th anniversary conference in Las Palmas, Spain a spokesman from each coalition member - Global Shippers Forum, ICHCA International, TT Club and World Shipping Council - highlighted the various challenges the industry faces in achieving such improvements.
Having addressed national government delegates at the IMO last month, impressing on them the shared responsibility to promote the use of the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU), the coalition members turned their attention at the conference to cargo handlers and stevedores to appeal for their support, said a ICHCA statement.
"Terminal operators and stevedores in many locations play a relatively minor role in packing containers and other CTUs. They nevertheless play an important role in identifying eccentrically loaded, overweight, bulging and otherwise dangerously packed units, and in taking appropriate steps to address any safety concerns," said Captain Richard Brough representing the hosts, ICHCA International.
In highlighting the need for stepping up efforts to communicate the Code and its content, Peregrine Storrs-Fox of TT Club commented, "The recently surveyed some 6,000 industry professionals to ascertain their knowledge of the Code. A low level response of five per cent completing the questionnaire in itself indicates a lack of awareness.
"If those expressing an opinion, just 56 per cent felt the Code is sufficient to address safety issues. Given the comprehensive nature of the Code, this suggests a need for more clarity and explanation of its important safety recommendations. Cooperation from all stakeholders across the global supply chain in order to improve this communication of the Code and, importantly, its uptake is vital."
Exemplifying one aspect of the Code's complexity, Lars Kjaer of the WSC examined the issue of pest contamination of containers and their cargoes. "The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) confirms that the packing of sea containers with cargo is the most likely stage in the sea container supply chain at which pest contamination can occur," Mr Kjaer said.
"Use of the Code, supported by targeted guidelines, will assist in efforts to mitigate this problem as all involved in the international container supply chain have a duty to ensure that CTUs and their cargoes are not infested with soil, plants, plant products, insects or other animals," he said.
Chris Welsh, representing the Global Shippers Forum, said: "It is a key moment to bring our important safety messages to all elements of the supply chain and particularly those responsible for packing and securing cargo in CTUs. We continue to call for cooperation from all such stakeholders to improve the industry's safety record in this crucial regard."