Industry groups are urging shippers to take more responsibility for supply chain safety in 2021, especially when dealing with damage that can arise from poorly packed containers.
International transport and logistics insurer TT Club and shippers’ advocacy group Global Shippers Forum (GSF) are pointing to the Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code) as a way for shippers to ensure safer cargo shipments and adhere to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. The CTU Code is a joint publication of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Labour Organization (ILO), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) that provides guidance on packing and securing cargo in freight containers and other transport units across sea and land transport modes.
The groups say the issue applies to retailers, manufacturers, traders, exporters, and importers that rely on global supply chains to transport a wide range of goods. TT Club said its analysis shows that two-thirds of cargo damage incidents—including fires—are caused or exacerbated by poor practices at the time of packing goods into freight containers and can result in multi-million dollar losses every year.
“The dangers are not just restricted to chemical cargoes, such as those used in paints, cosmetics, cleaning products, [fertilizers], weedkillers, and aerosols of all types. A wide variety of consumer goods, as well as components used in the manufacture of industrial products, domestic white goods, and automobiles, if incorrectly handled in transit, can cause major disasters,” Michael Yarwood, managing director for loss prevention at TT Club, said in a statement. “The list is long and often surprising … Those involved in sourcing, importing, storing, supplying or selling such commodities should ensure their procurement and logistics standards are of the highest level.”
TT Club and its partners have developed a Quick Guide to the CTU Code to help organizations navigate the complexity of the issue. The guide includes a checklist of actions and responsibilities for those packing cargoes in freight containers, specifically, the group said.
“The aim is to make the Code accessible to as many operatives as possible, encouraging them to adhere to the good practices that it specifies,” TT Club officials also said.