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Free Safety Guide on Sea Container Storage

Two insurance mutuals have collaborated to publish guidelines on the safe carriage of goods by sea

Published on 27 January 2020

Two insurance mutuals have collaborated to publish a free guide outlining the responsibilities and best practices for stakeholders engaged in the transportation of cargo by sea. The guide, developed by TT Club and UK P&I, comes after January 1, 2020 saw changes to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, Amendment 39-18.

The Amendment, which is mandatory for 2 years from January 1, 2020 involves a number of changes designed to reduce the risk to cargo carriage by sea, particularly from ship fires. Explaining the new guide, titled 'Book it right and pack it tight', UK P&I's Loss Prevention Director, Stuart Edmonston, said "As mutuals, our chief aim is to minimise risk for our Members and the industry we serve ... The recent spate of container ship fires with the consequent loss of life, damage to ships and cargo, and trade disruption has been a major concern to ourselves and TT Club. UK P&I continues to participate in initiatives which focus on the capability to detect, suppress and extinguish fires at sea. However we share our sister organisation’s desire to tackle the causes of such fires at source."

The guidelines offer information on the classification of dangerous goods, the selection of appropriate packaging, the marking and labelling of packages, the preparation of transport documentation, the actual packing of cargo containers, as well as the safe loading and unloading of containers. The guide is intended to offer insights for all actors in the process of sea cargo, from exporters through to freight forwarders, shipping handlers and others involved in the movement of cargo across water.

TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, added that "As so often the case, fires and explosions are merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of problems, which are inherent throughout the supply chain ... There are far too many errors in classification and declaration of commodities to be transported. These are often amplified by poor decisions and practices relating to packaging, packing, segregation and securing. Such errors severely compromise safety in a variety of ways, but most critically when the goods should be rightly be described as dangerous in a regulated sense and, here, in compliance the IMDG Code."

Describing the guide, Uffe Ernst-Frederiksen, Head of Cargo Management at Maersk Line and Chairman of CINS says that the guide is "tremendously useful and that if only people would read one book this year that it should be this one."

The free guide can be accessed by going to either of the below links:



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