TT Club is calling for more urgent action on issues related to the safety of container transport as IMO’s latest meeting of the sub-committee on carriage of cargoes and containers (CCC) takes place in London this week.
A statement explained that for some time now, the insurer has been drawing both industry and regulators’ attention to the need for greater ‘cargo integrity’, by which is meant the “safe, secure and environmentally sound packing, handling and transport of all goods in containers and other transport units, in compliance with conventions (such as SOLAS) and codes, including IMDG Code and the CTU Code”.
TT Club risk management director Peregrine Storrs-Fox commented “Achieving such cargo integrity across the complex web of the international freight supply chain is a big ask and we are in little doubt that a comprehensive result will take time to achieve. However, many industry bodies are making significant strides, particularly in the areas of dangerous goods identification, declaration and handling as well as container weighing and packing. We are calling on the regulators, in this case IMO, to assist in taking action to identify appropriate legislative and behavioural change that will improve safety and certainty of outcome.”
TT Club said a primary concern is misdeclared dangerous goods, with some sources suggesting that container fires occur on a weekly basis and that a major container cargo fire engulfs a ship at sea on average once every 60 days. TT Club said “Such incidents are costing seafarer lives, result in loss and damage to goods and ships running into hundreds of millions of dollars, impact the environment and are significantly disrupting supply chains serving markets throughout the world.”
TT Club has analysed data pertaining to such losses and contributed the aggregated experiences of those it insures – carriers, forwarders, ports, terminals and cargo owners – to help inform the cargo handling trade association, ICHCA, which benefits from consultative status at IMO, in its submissions to CCC sitting this week.
Mr Storrs-Fox said “As a step towards the goal of true cargo integrity, we are calling on IMO to initiate a correspondence group to advise on the best means of achieving such unified guidelines.”