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lunes, 8 de agosto de 2011

ITF urges action over problem containers

The International Transport Federation (ITF) and the International Labour Federation (ILO) launched a campaign in February to highlight the dangers of badly prepared shipping containers.
The union will lobby politicians, the EU and other stake holders to push for action to stem “overloaded, badly packed or inadequately secured freight containers, and those carrying undeclared dangerous goods”, the ITF said in a statement.
“At their best, containers are key link in the world supply chain, at their worst they are a danger to the lives of workers and the public, “ITF general secretary David Cockroft said. “Their use across transport sectors –lorry port, rail, ship –makes this of particular relevance to the ITF and its transport workers members.
The ITF claims that so far, best practice and self regulation have failed to stop the worst kind of incidents, and the organization was therefore recommending that “international mandatory instruments be development that guarantee that those handling and moving containers are informed of their weight, state of packing, stowage and securing, as well as their centre of gravity and whether or not any fumigants or dangerous substances are present”.
According to the ILO –which held a forum on the subject in February–many accidents in the transport sector stem from poor practices when packing containers, including overloading. “This has caused major concern particularly because the victims can be the general public, transport workers, of their employers, who have no control over the packing of containers”, ITF official John Bainbridge said.
The forum’s stated objective was to reach a common understanding by all stakeholders of the underlying issues relating to the packing of containers and “a better understanding of the reasons that lead to the application of poor practices in packing of containers that result in industrial accidents.”
David Cheslin, organizer of the 2010 conference Weight Containers is it really that difficult? Told about that ITF initiative should be welcomed. However, he noted that while the weighting issue could be easily resolved if there was a will to do so, the question of how a container was stuffed and what it contained was a more difficult problem.
“There are literally tens of thousands of companies, large as small, stuffing containers around the world and, while most shippers are responsible and component, others are less so”, he explained. “That doesn’t mean to say, though, that you shouldn’t try to solve the problem.”
There was a reticence among ship-owners and operators to address this problem voluntarily, the clamed. “Perhaps individual carriers are frightened that customers will switch to other carriers if they take a hard line on misdeclared weights”, Cheslin speculated.
Penalization of overloading has largely been confined to the road haulier sector, with its maritime counterpart so far avoiding legislation and tougher measures.


 The container itself is sound and in good condition particularly in respect to withstanding loading either at the bottom of or top of, a stack with sometime violent parametric rolling and movement of a ship.
 The container has been loaded according to best practice and all the cargo is secure within the box and the centre of gravity is suitably nearer the bottom (very important for road transport).
 That no undeclared dangerous goods have been loaded and the box is correctly signed to show the nature of any dangerous goods it contains.
 That there are no incompatible cargoes stowed that may react with each other.
 No combustible or toxic gases are given off that have not been suitable made provision for.
 Has any container been fumigated prior to loading or entry by any party?
 Is the cargo legal and, in all respects, safe against explosion or self-igniting products? Any required details to be available to ship staff and such details as possible fire-fighting requirements or protective gear in some instances.
 What is the correct weight of the container and has it been stowed on board in a suitable position?
 Is the lashing correctly carried out and twist-locks secure?
 Has the container been sealed and registered by the appropriate custom and agricultural body and is the seal intact to ensure no illegal substance has been smuggled or illegal persons have stowed away?


Guillermo Parra Avello
Junio 2011

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