Measures are being introduced to discourage shippers from misdeclaring hazardous cargoes
TT Club added this practice is “strongly suspected as being either the cause of, or at least contributory to, the spate of container ship fires in recent months”.
TT Club said it welcomes such initiatives by liner operators as the international transport insurer has “growing concerns about the lax cargo packing practices and erroneous, sometimes fraudulent, declaration of cargoes”. Under the banners ‘Cargo Integrity’ and #Fit4Freight, TT Club has been collaborating with stakeholders throughout the freight supply chain to highlight ongoing risks, including severe ship fires, arising from poorly packed and declared cargo.
In light of the increase in incidents, loss of life, significant costs and delays to cargo deliveries, the lines are strengthening their inspection procedures and imposing fines on those shippers found to have misdeclared.
TT Club risk management director Peregrine Storrs-Fox says “Clearly, the shipper has primary responsibility to declare fully and honestly so that carriers are able to take appropriate actions to achieve safe transport. Since this is not always the case, carriers have to put in place increasingly sophisticated and costly control mechanisms to ‘know their customers’, screen booking information and physically inspect shipments. Equally, carriers have the opportunity to review any barriers to accurate shipment declaration, including minimising any unnecessary restrictions and surcharges. Penalising shippers where deficiencies are found should be applauded. Furthermore, government enforcement agencies are encouraged to take appropriate action under national or international regulations to deter poor practices further.”
TT Club’s Cargo Integrity campaign seeks to promote awareness of good practice, such as set out in the CTU Code and to reveal the influences from both direct and indirect stakeholders within the supply chain that result in behaviours leading to dangerous incidents on land or at sea.
Mr Storrs-Fox said “A key element of the campaign is to identify levers – both sticks and carrots – that are available to improve a safety culture in container transport, including considering unintended consequences inherent in trading arrangements or fiscal/security interventions and the possibilities presented by technological innovation.”