Recommended minimum safety specifications for quay container cranes



A joint initiative from TT Club, ICHCA International and Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA)


In a concerted effort to reduce injuries and loss of life, as well as to reduce damages and delay to port and terminal operations worldwide, the TT Club, ICHCA International and the Port Equipment Manufacturers Association (PEMA) agreed in 2010 to join forces in creating recommended safety features that should be standard as a minimum on all quay container cranes.

The genesis for the project was a TT Club global analysis of insurance claims by ports and terminals, which revealed that 34% of the cost of asset-related claims worldwide was directly related to quay container cranes. While a range of technologies now exist that can significantly improve the safe performance of quay container cranes, and help address some of the most common causes of accidents and claims, many of these features are not currently included as standard on new cranes.

The three organizations therefore set out to identify and recommend a baseline specification for quay container cranes in relation to safety features that should be included in specifications, tenders and quotations for new quay container cranes.

This current document, first published in June 2011, is the result of this joint working initiative, and is intended for use both by buyers and suppliers of quay container cranes.

The recommendations provided here do not carry any force of law, and are independent of the various local, national and international regulatory regimes on the safe design, manufacture, specification and operation of cranes, which must also be satisfied. The hope of all three parties, however, is that the safety features outlined here will be embraced both by buyers and suppliers as a voluntary industry standard.


With over 2,000 insured operations, including over 400 ports and terminals globally, the claims data gathered by the TT Club provides a real perspective of the types and causes of accidents globally. An analysis of global asset-related claims by TT Club identified that 34% of the cost of global asset claims are related to quay container cranes. This startling statistic was the catalyst for this document, which recommends standard safety features and specifications that can minimize or entirely prevent some of the most common causes of accidents involving this type of port equipment. The TT Club global analysis of quay crane claims data identified the leading causes of accidents and failures as:

Wind damage

Mainly involving cranes being blown along rails, this is the biggest preventable weather damage cost. While procedures are a significant issue in reducing this type of accident, equipment type and design can reduce these claims.

Hoist, spreaders and ropes

These are the most used and abused items of equipment in a terminal and require regular inspections and better preventative maintenance – or can we design them better?

Structural integrity issues

Crane collapses and other structural failures can be minimized if ports and terminals ensure that regular structural inspections are carried out as per ILO Convention 152. Or can we better design them?


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