WSC Seeks to Prevent Container Fires With Cargo Screening Programme

WSC Seeks to Prevent Container Fires With Cargo Screening Programme

With fires on containerships increasing - and a worrying number of these resulting in casualties and total losses - the World Shipping Council is seeking to introduce a new ‘Cargo Safety Programme’.

The proposed programme will rely on a digital solution that will comprise; a common screening tool, a verified shipper database, and a database of approved container inspection companies. 

At its core, the proposed solution will allow inspectors to screen booking information against a comprehensive keyword library and risk algorithm. Any high-risk bookings that are subsequently identified will be flagged for further investigation and/or inspection. 

The ultimate aim of the programme is to identify and correct dangerous conditions before containers with potentially hazardous cargoes are introduced into the supply chain. 

Commenting on the proposed programme, John Butler, President and CEO of the World Shipping Council, said: 

“A common industry approach to cargo safety will create a safer working environment not only for ship crews, but for everyone involved in inland transport or working in ports and terminals, as well as for the communities around us. 

For shippers, it will make ocean transport more efficient and dependable, by stopping dangerous shipments that can disrupt the supply chain”.

According to the 2023 Allianz Safety and Shipping Review, there have been over 64 fires on containerships over the past five years. The report found that, ‘The cause of many cargo fires can be attributed to mis-declared dangerous goods, such as chemicals, batteries and charcoal. Failure to properly declare, document and pack hazardous cargo can result in containers stowed incorrectly or hampering firefighting efforts’.

The World Shipping Council is now in the process of identifying a partner with whom they can develop their proposed digital solution. 

Require cargo advice? 

Then speak to Brookes Bell’s cargo team today. We are able to provide high-level scientific advice on a broad range of common cargo issues, including spoilage, deterioration, heating, contamination, quality disputes and more. 

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Anthony York
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