Beyond VGM: TT Club Calls for a Focus on Cargo Integrity

Efforts to secure accurate container gross mass data continue following the SOLAS revision mandating verified gross mass for every packed unit having taken effect, but international freight transport insurer, TT Club is now calling for a concerted industry campaign to ensure good practice in all aspects of cargo care.

TT Club believes that an insistence on precise gross mass is just the first step in achieving what it is calling 'Cargo Integrity' not just within container trades but throughout the entire supply chain. Speaking at the recent industry conference, Intermodal Europe in Rotterdam, TT Club's Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox emphasised the importance of the concept to safety both at sea and onshore, "By increasing the visibility of Cargo Integrity we hope to draw attention to other vital aspects of secure and safe cargo transport. This will include the proper packing of cargo within a unit; transparent data regarding contents (particularly classification of regulated goods) and the appropriate safe handling of such commodities; the highest standards of container construction and maintenance and the most advanced methods of stowing and lashing containers onboard ships", he explained.

These varied aspects of Cargo Integrity are all important in not only safe-guarding the cargo itself but also the well-being of those handling the goods at warehouses, during inland transport, at ports and of course at sea. TT Club is committed to reducing the incidence of unstable loads causing traffic accidents and injuries when unpacking, dangerous goods causing fires both at warehouse facilities and at sea and poorly handled cargoes causing serious, sometimes fatal incidents at ports and terminals.

"In the immediate future we are anxious to promote awareness of, and adherence to the CTU Code. This is the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units, a publication sponsored by the three relevant UN agencies*", stated Storrs-Fox. "The CTU Code legitimises the chain of responsibility for all stakeholders, providing a comprehensive framework to ensure cargo can complete the entire journey safely and successfully. We urge all those engaged in moving goods internationally to follow the Code diligently".

Over the course of the coming year while stimulating as wide an implementation as possible of the CTU Code, TT Club will also be advising on initiatives to improve the other aspects of safe carriage of international freight through its Cargo Integrity campaign.

* being the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Staff Author

TT Club