Stop Loss 13 - Transport of coiled materials


Coiled materials covers a variety of materials of differing densities, but all present the shipper with the fundamental issues of how to ensure that the cargo itself arrives at the destination without damage, at the same time as avoid damage to the cargo transport unit (CTU) and anyone or thing adjacent to it during transit. Improperly secured coil materials can have catastrophic and fatal consequences. New industry guidance is now available.

Experience over the years in relation to the transport of coiled materials has not always been happy, leading many intermodal operators to impose stringent terms relating to their declaration and handling. TT Club has necessarily been involved in many incidents where coils have been improperly packed and insufficiently secured in the CTU, resulting in cargo shifting inside the unit when it was subject to anticipated and unanticipated transit accelerations (braking or turning of the carrying vehicle or ship motions at sea).

The CTU Code places the responsibility for securing the cargo within a CTU on the packer (the party who physically packs the CTU on behalf of the shipper). Amongst other things, this responsibility requires that cargo is secured and positioned so that the centre of gravity is as close to CTU’s centre of gravity and that the mass of the cargo is evenly distributed over the floor.

Specific hazards for coiled materials
Coiled materials, especially those with a higher density such as steel, can present the packer with a small footprint, a high mass and an unstable package. Each of these requires careful consideration for a safe and satisfactory outcome. Coils on their side (‘eye to side’ or ‘eye to rear’) are liable to roll, while coils on their end (‘eye to sky’) may tip. Coils on their sides, with their small footprint, need to be properly bedded to avoid exerting unacceptable forces onto the floor of the CTU, especially when carried in a standard intermodal container.

Convergence of interest between TT Club and maritime carriers involved in the CINS Organisation in relation to incidents involving coiled materials led to a collaboration to update and expand the Club’s previous StopLoss briefing guide, which addressed carriage of metal coils. The revised guidelines, ‘Transport of Coiled Materials in Containers’, focuses attention on how a container packer can understand the risks involved through the supply chain in order to ensure that the coils are packed and secured successfully. Equally, while recognising that there are a number of proprietary solutions available, these guidelines seek to assist less sophisticated operations reliant primarily on timber for load distribution and bracing, where the greatest risk exposure has been seen.

Essential container packing guidance
The resultant document provides guidance for the bedding and securing of heavier coiled materials in intermodal containers, concentrating on structures that may be assembled by the packer using locally sourced materials, generally properly treated timber. Such securing methods provide a satisfactory solution for one way shipments where there is no return trip from destination back to the packer. The guidelines cover the requirements for the selection of bedding beams used to distribute the load over the floor area shows, examples of how single and multiple coils should be secured and how the packing material is braced against the strong points within the container.

In compiling this guidance, it is fully recognised that there are specialist and closed loop operations where more sophisticated solutions should be actively considered by shippers. Where it is envisaged that containers can be returned by the unpacker / consignee to the packer, other securing methods may be adopted and could be preferable. Such methods include:
• Cradles that both secure the coiled material and distribute the load across the container floor;
• Special full width and / or length cassette type designs where cradles designed for carrying coiled materials are built in or may be attached to the container; and
• Bespoke container designs that may carry single or multiple coils.

All of these methods are considered as multi-use and as a consequence the owner or user of the equipment has to ensure a logistics operation that will return them from the unpacker to the packer.  It is possible for cradles and cassettes to be stacked, so that more than one is carried in a return container, whereas bespoke containers need to be empty positioned back from destination to the packer’s premises. Such multi-use solutions are particularly suitable for short and medium journeys where the cradles, cassettes or bespoke containers remain within a closed loop using simple transport chains. Shippers who consider that multi-use securing methods are appropriate for their operation should contact an appropriate supplier.

CTU Code compliant
The CTU Code sets out sound principles for correct and safe packing of cargo for transport in any surface mode. These guidelines seek to be consistent with the Code and apply its principles to the specific circumstances of transporting coiled materials in containers. TT Club is grateful for the insight and input from the carrier members of the CINS Organisation, as well as Bill Brassington of ETS Consulting, the consultant author to the Group of Experts who produced the CTU Code.

 

 

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