The international transport and logistics industry’s leading provider of insurance and related risk management services is applauding a number of container lines for recently announcing measures to discourage shippers from mis-declaring hazardous cargoes, which is a practice strongly suspected as being either the cause of, or at least contributory to, a spate of recent container ship fires.
TT Club says it welcomes such initiatives by liner operators as the international transport insurer has growing concerns about the lax cargo packing practices and erroneous, sometimes fraudulent, declaration of cargoes. Under the banners “Cargo Integrity” and #Fit4Freight, TT Club has been collaborating with stakeholders through the freight supply chain to highlight ongoing risks, including severe ship fires, arising from poorly packed and declared cargo.
“Clearly, the shipper has primary responsibility to declare fully and honestly so that carriers are able to take appropriate actions to achieve safe transport,” explains Peregrine Storrs-Fox, TT Club’s Risk Management director. “Since this is not always the case, carriers have to put in place increasingly sophisticated and costly control mechanisms to ‘know their customers,’ screen booking information and physically inspect shipments. Equally, carriers have the opportunity to review any barriers to accurate shipment declaration, including minimizing any unnecessary restrictions and surcharges.”
Penalizing shippers where deficiencies are found should be applauded, contends Storrs-Fox, who adds that “government enforcement agencies are encouraged to take appropriate action under national or international regulations to deter poor practices further.”
TT Club’s Cargo Integrity campaign seeks not only to promote awareness of good practice but also to reveal the plethora of influences from both direct and indirect stakeholders within the supply chain that result in behaviors leading to dangerous incidents on land or at sea.
“A key element of the campaign is to identify levers–both sticks and carrots–that are available to improve a safety culture in container transport,” Storrs-Fox says, “including considering unintended consequences inherent in trading arrangements or fiscal/security interventions and the possibilities presented by technological innovation.”