These fire incidents are a danger to the seafarers and an economic challenge to the shipping companies.
TT Club’s records report that across the intermodal spectrum as a whole, 66% of incidents related to cargo damage can be attributed to poor practice in the overall packing process; that is not just in securing but also in cargo identification, declaration, documentation and effective data transfer.
The calculated cost of these claims in the Marine Aviation & Transport (MAT) insurance sector is in excess of USD 500 million a year.
In addition, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, TT Club’s Risk Management Director, noted
We are endeavouring to focus all direct and indirect stakeholders on recognising and doing the right thing. One particularly critical aspect of this is the correct declaration and handling of dangerous goods (DG).
ICHCA International, the cargo handling operatives association has calculated that of the 60 million packed containers moved each year, 10% or six million are declared as dangerous goods.
Moreover, government inspections report that 20% of dangerous goods are poorly packed or incorrectly identified. This translates into 1.3 million potentially unstable DG containers traveling around the world each year.
The Risk Management Director highlights that this scale of risk is elevated when undeclared or misdeclared dangerous goods consignments are considered.
In light of the fire incidents, container lines are trying to eliminate the problem.
The Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS), in which many of the top lines participate, has been active for a number of years and has successfully identified a number of commodities that commonly cause problems during transport – not always limited to those formally identified as dangerous.
In the meantime, TT Club has additionally promoted, together with UK P&I Club and Exis Technologies, the Hazcheck Restrictions Portal, which is designed to identify and streamline the complexity of regulations and protocols imposed by carriers and ports around the world in relation to transporting declared dangerous goods.
Yet, Storrs-Fox concludes that there's still much to be done to successfully achieve true Cargo Integrity.
Certain elements may require legislative action, enforcement and inspection and there are great challenges in the field of technological development. Above all there is a need for all involved in the supply chain to have a realistic perception of risk and a responsible attitude towards liability.
... Storrs-Fox noted.