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Web Alert: Best practices for carriage of dangerous goods by container

29 April 2019

Class society ABS and representatives from the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) have formed a joint industry project to develop best practices for carriage of dangerous goods.

ABS has been working with CINS members over the past six months to develop best stowage strategy guidelines. Following a three-month trial, the best practice guidelines are intended to be published on the CINS website.

'Carriage of dangerous goods, not properly identified or accounted for, can be detrimental to the safety of the ship – and more importantly, to the people on board that ship,' commented ABS vice president for technology, Gareth Burton. 'Central to our joint effort is advancing safety by developing a set of best practices incorporating key lessons learned provided by CINS members from past incidents.'

The objective of this project is a comprehensive set of best practices to improve stowage planning and hazard mitigation for dangerous goods carriage, leading to a focused application of existing risk assessment processes. The number of severe fires onboard boxships caused by the incorrect carriage of dangerous goods has spiked in recent years with the Maersk Honam and Yantian Express being two high profile examples of a worrying growing trend for liner shipping.

ICHCA International, the cargo handling operatives association, has calculated that of the 60m packed containers moved each year, 10​%​ or 6m are declared as dangerous goods. Information from published government inspections – which are invariably biased towards declared dangerous goods loads – suggests that 20% of these are poorly packed or incorrectly identified. This translates into 1.3m potentially unstable dangerous goods containers travelling around the world each year.

Further information produced by the club specifically discussing misdeclared cargo and its risks can be found in the attachment on the right, in our Standard Cargo Special Edition.