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London, 29 January 2021
We have seen some high-profile occurrences of fires and damage onboard ships over the past few years and now five industry organisations have collaborated to raise awareness and push for new guidance on packing standards to prevent incidents from taking place in the future.
The Cargo Integrity Group, alongside publishing a quick guide to the UN-sponsored Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (the CTU Code) is also involved in a number of other regulatory developments.
Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director at TT Club and one of the founding members of the Cargo Integrity Group, tells us more.
In 2021, why is awareness needed of the Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code)?
Despite the facts that the CTU Code was approved by the UN sponsors in 2014 and has been promoted through the industry in a number of ways, including during post-incident process improvement initiatives, there is generally awareness and adoption of the detailed contents of the Code.
Aside from awareness being raised, you have called for further enforcement of regulation – why do you feel that now is the time for this happen?
The CTU Code was put together by a broad coalition of workers, industry and governments to define good practice methodologies aimed at increasing safety and certainty of outcome. The Cargo Integrity Group (CIG), comprised of COA, GSF, ICHCA, TT Club and WSC, represents many key industry stakeholders who are concerned to improve performance. While the UN sponsors applaud this industry initiative, it is clear that complexities of national enforcement all too often undermine the effectiveness of industry actions. More robust enforcement of national and international regulations would greatly assist.
The packing and securing of cargo is such a wide-ranging and complex issue and incorporates a number of different stakeholders. What do you envision as being the main challenges to improving cargo safety and security?
It is evident that there are myriad challenges to change behaviours across the globe in relation to cargo packing. By forming the wide-based CIG, drawing in interests across the supply chain, it has been demonstrated that collaboration for common objectives can work. CIG has an ongoing programme of engagement with the full range of industry actors and associations, each of whom can assist in communicating messages to support adoption of the CTU Code and compliance with other related regulations. CIG is additionally involved in a number of regulatory developments each with potential to improve clarity and strengthen good practice adoption.
The industry is always looking towards technological solutions to overcome obstacles and challenges in its operations. Shouldn’t this be explored to help in the ongoing
battle for cargo safety and security?
Undoubtedly technological solutions have an important role to play. There are a number of innovators rolling out devices that may provide real-time monitoring of cargo through the supply chain, but these may be seen as primarily reactive in terms of improving safety. The capability to screen cargo submissions at multiple data levels is advancing rapidly – and joining such ‘dots’ will assist greatly. Further, advances in digitisation will assist in ensuring that the passage of data from each actor to the next can be complete, accurate and timely. In the immediate packing context, one key challenge remains putting relevant and accessible information in the hands of those actually carrying out the functions and their immediate supervisors.
How are TT Club and its partners looking to support the industry navigate through this complex issue?
There are four areas of activity that are being pursued by TT and the CIG aimed at improving safety and certainty of outcome in cargo packing practices:
a. Promoting awareness and adoption of the CTU Code, of which the ‘Quick Guide’ material published in September 2020 is an example.
b. Seeking changes in regulatory requirements to improve their clarity, application, implementation and enforcement, including to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.
c. Monitoring of CTU packing performance through support for strengthened cargo screening processes and more effective container inspection regimes.
d. Working with other industry and governmental stakeholders in promoting awareness and better understanding of safe cargo packing and handling practices.
We would like to thank Peregrine for his time and highlighting the vitally important work that the Cargo Integrity Group is undertaking here.
As we have seen over the past 12 months, the health and safety of those whom work in and around the terminal is paramount and we must not forget the major incidents that have taken place over the past few years out at sea or in ports & terminals that can be traced back to dangerous goods not being packed and secured correctly. The CTU Code along with further regulation is an important step in future prevention.
Please do follow the TOC social media channels to find out further information on the HSSE Webinar, which we will be announcing details of soon, where Peregrine will be joining the panel to discuss the workings of the Cargo Integrity Group in more detail.
For more information about TT Club visit their website: