Coalition Calls for Supply Chain Safety Improvements


A coalition standing for a broad cross-section of the global CTU freight industry is urging the international supply chain community to make safety improvements through proper packing, handling, and transport of cargo transport units (CTUs), including containers.

The Global Shippers’ Forum, ICHCA International, TT Club and World Shipping Council (WSC), spoke at ICHCA International’s 65th anniversary conference in Las Palmas, Spain to highlight the varied 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 code’s use, the coalition members today turned their attention to cargo handlers and stevedores.

Captain Richard Brough representing the hosts, ICHCA International, said: “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. 

“In terms of disseminating this message, we are particularly pleased today to be able to address such a significant group from CARC, the Canarias/Africa Chapter of ICHCA, who are meeting with us this week.”

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In highlighting the need for stepping up efforts to communicate the code and its content, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director at TT Club, commented: “We recently surveyed some 6,000 industry professionals to ascertain their knowledge of the Code. 

“A low-level response of 5% completing the questionnaire in itself indicates a lack of awareness.

“Of those expressing an opinion, just 56% 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.”

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Lars Kjaer, Senior Vice President of the WSC, provided an example of how the code is complex but also comprehensive.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Shippers and those acting on their behalf in packing containers and other CTUs around the world are a key group in efforts to promote the code in practice. 

Chris Welsh, representing the Global Shippers Forum, commented: “Today’s meeting brings together in a single venue those who operate cargo handling facilities and the shippers and packers who initiate the movement.

“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.”

The riskiest part of a shipping container’s journey is before it begins, according to Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director, TT Club:

View transport and logistics insurance solutions from TT Club

Read more: TT Club, a provider of insurance and related risk management services, has revealed that government authorities across the world may be under-equipped to enforce Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rules

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