Forum Draws Attention to the Perils of Packing
Freight and logistics professionals at Multimodal 2014 this week will hear specialist insurer TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox and other experts warn of the hazards of incorrect packing of containers and CTUs of all types.
Much industry attention recently has been focussed on the debate surrounding the degree to which inaccurately declared cargo weights cause accidents involving Cargo Transport Units (CTUs), in particular maritime containers. Poor weight information has been cited as a cause of such incidents as container stack collapse, road and terminal vehicle overturning, crane failure or even contributing to ship loss.
However, while still important to achieve improved regulation of verified gross mass, the reality is that accurate cargo weights contribute in only a small part to safety in the supply chain. The way in which cargo is packed and secured in CTUs is arguably far more significant, leading - where incorrectly carried out - to loads shifting and cargo spillages. Accident investigations into cargo claims received by TT Club frequently identify poor load distribution, improperly packed cargo and inadequate blocking, bracing and securing, including inappropriate use of dunnage.
Such a finding is echoed by the ocean carriers’ Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS), where a third of incidents investigated were found to have this cause. The loss to the industry is substantial, resulting in direct expense, operational disruption and management distraction, not to mention litigation or insurance costs.
Along with speakers from the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA), the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA), Storrs-Fox will underline the crucial importance of promoting the need for ‘best practice’ guidelines for cargo packing procedures. “For many years SOLAS (International convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) and the IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code) have referenced the IMO/ILO/UNECE* ‘Guidelines for Packing Cargo Transport Units to assist those involved in packing containers and other transport units. Recent revisions to these Guidelines have been approved as a Code of Practice by the UNECE, with the other two bodies due to endorse them later this year. It is vital that, as an industry, we do our utmost to promote this new CTU Code as a minimum operational standard,” he said.
As part of this effort TT Club has commissioned the expert e-learning course designer Exis Technologies to develop the CTUpack e-learningTM course. This is an online training tool for those involved in the packing and unpacking of cargo transport units (CTU). The first release of CTUpack is a foundation level course and was launched in January.
Students are assessed continuously through the course and receive a course completion certificate which records their final score. The e-learning course is accessed via the web and is available for individual training or for national, regional or global company training programmes. Multiple courses are managed using Exis Technologies’ e-learning management system, which provides administrator functions for setting up courses and monitoring students’ records.
The CTUpack e-learning will evolve to reflect any further changes to the UN documents and other industry best practice guidance.
Storrs-Fox concludes, “CTUpack e-learning follows the well-established IMDG Code e-learning training course from Exis, which is also sponsored by TT Club. Both courses fit closely with the risk management approach that the Club has always fostered among the global freight transport community. As in other operational sectors of the industry, training is clearly the number one loss prevention measure and, if adopted as a core feature of the operator's culture, can greatly reduce the number of incidents incurred globally each year throughout the industry. We have already seen promising interest in the course since its launch in January, but we are now working with Exis to disseminate information about the course on an international level. ”