containers at factories, warehouses and depots situated remotely from the port,
or indeed from a railhead or other intermodal hub, are generally unaware of the
consequences of a poorly packed steel coil and unsecured drum of hazardous
chemicals. As a specialist insurer, TT Club continually sees the sad
repercussions of truck rollovers and train derailments, cargo spillages, and
explosions and fires at ports or on-board ships.”
statistics are hard to come by, partly due to a lack of engagement by state
authorities with IMO’s container inspection standard, but ICHCA International’s
Richard Brough made an attempt to estimate the extent of the problem based on
UNCTAD trade International Maritime Organization, International Labor
Organization and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe statistics and
the results of the relatively few inspections made during the last fifteen
years. “Extrapolating from the UNCTAD figure of 180 million TEUs traded, via
the 24% of inspected containers carrying dangerous goods (DG) that were found
to be badly packed and bearing in mind that cargoes declared as DG make up only
around 10% of all containers, we can estimate that each year some 25.9 million
containers are potentially poorly packed and pose a danger at some point on
their journey along the supply chain.” Lars Kjaer, Senior Vice President of WSC
drew attention to the vital matter of container pest contamination explaining,
“Carriers should ensure that empty containers to be delivered for packing are
clean and pest free.
International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) has confirmed that pest
contamination of containers and their cargoes is most likely to occur at the
point of packing. Shippers and packers need to take appropriate steps to
prevent pest contamination of containers while in their custody.” All four organisations
are in no doubt about the extent of the task in hand to extend the best
practices enshrined in the CTU Code to the majority of those involved in
packing containers around the world.
A lack of
training, language problems, the sheer density of the information contained in
the Code, dramatic variations in the types of cargo now being carried in
containers and the complexities of international supply chains are among the
myriad of challenges facing the industry in achieving widespread adoption.
However, this coalition of industry bodies is determined to advance towards
their goal and emphasise once more the crucial role that IMO member states
should play in supporting their efforts.
IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code),
jointly developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the
International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic
Commission for Europe (UNECE), addresses these concerns through a non-mandatory
global code of practice for the handling and packing of cargo transport units
for transportation by sea and land.
CTU Code is an update of the 1997 IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for Packing of Cargo
Transport Units and was endorsed by the Inland Transport Committee of the
UNECE, at its seventy-sixth session (25 to 27 February 2014), the IMO Maritime
Safety Committee, at its ninety-third session (14 to 23 May 2014) and the
Governing Body of ILO, at its 322nd session (30 October to 13 November
2014). The revision process took place from 2011to 2013 under the
auspices of a group of experts.
CTU Code, comprehensive information and references on all aspects of loading
and securing of cargo in containers and other intermodal transport are
provided, taking account of the requirements of all sea and land transport
modes. The CTU Code applies to transport operations throughout the entire
intermodal transport chain and provides guidance not only to those responsible
for packing and securing cargo, but also to those who receive and unpack such
units. The Code of Practice also addresses issues such as training and
the packing of dangerous goods.
Code is intended to assist the industry, employers’ and workers’ organizations
as well as Governments in ensuring the safe stowage of cargo in containers. The
CTU Code could also be used as a reference base for national regulations and
could become a model for internationally harmonized legislation in this field,
should such requirements arise. In conjunction with the CTU Code, the
Informative Material related to the CTU Code (MSC.1/Circ.1498) provides
practical guidance and background information on the packing of cargo transport
units. The informative material was finalized by the IMO Sub-Committee on
Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) at its first session.