Cargo Integrity Group highlights cargoes that can compromise supply chain safety

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The industry bodies of the Cargo Integrity Group continue in their mission to improve safety in the global supply chain. The Group has identified a number of cargoes, commonly carried in containers, that under certain conditions can cause dangerous incidents. They urge everyone handling these goods to follow all applicable regulations, the CTU Code and industry best practices.

In addition to promoting sound packing and shipping practices, the Cargo Integrity Group aims to increase awareness about the types of goods, often less obvious, that can compromise safety in the container supply chain under certain conditions.

The Group has identified fifteen such ‘Cargoes of Concern’ that are commonly transported by sea and intermodally. While these are usually transported safely when regulations and guidelines are followed, the Group has created this list to highlight cargoes that can become hazardous if handled incorrectly. They emphasize that cargoes that are mis-declared or have incomplete or incorrect information about their identity are more likely to be involved in incidents.

This list is not exhaustive, but each item illustrates a common type of hazard, divided into three categories: 

Reactive Hazards - These cargoes can catch fire and cause significant damage and casualties under certain conditions. They are generally subject to Dangerous Goods regulations.

Examples are: 

  • Charcoal / carbon
  • Calcium Hypochlorite
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Cotton and wool
  • Fishmeal and krill
  • Seed cake

Spill or Leak Risks - These commodities can present a risk if not packed properly or if they are damaged. Spills or leaks from these cargoes can harm the health of people cleaning up the spill as well as the environment.

Examples are: 

  • Hides and skins
  • Wine
  • Bitumen
  • Cocoa butter
  • Waste - recycled engines and engine parts
  • Vegetable and other oils, particularly when packed in flexitanks

Improper Packing Consequences – Cargoes that are poorly or incorrectly packed or secured in the container can lead to injuries to personnel or damage to nearby containers, property, or other cargo. Such incidents can cause severe accidents at sea or on land, such as truck rollovers and train derailments.

Examples are: 

  • Logs and timber
  • Steel Coils
  • Marble and granite

In the coming months the Cargo Integrity Group will publish additional guidance on the identification and safe handling of these cargoes.

The list is based on data from, among other sources, the claims history of leading freight insurance provider, TT Club; a report prepared by ICHCA and submitted to the IMO on incidents involving dangerous goods on ships or in ports, and from CINS which collates information provided by its members on incidents involving dangerous cargo.

“The combined experience of our organisations has been harnessed to identify these categories and result in pin-pointing some commodities where the risks are perhaps less obvious,” says Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director, TT Club. “While the potential dangers of transporting, for example, calcium hypochlorite or lithium-ion batteries might be more widely appreciated, the combustible qualities of seed cake or the hazards associated with cocoa butter or vegetable oils, will be less well-known.”

The combustible qualities of seed cake or the hazards associated with cocoa butter or vegetable oils, will be less well-known.

“Every actor in the global container supply chain is responsible for the health and safety of not only their own people, but also of those at any onward stage of the container’s journey. Complying with regulations and following the advice in the CTU Code saves lives, and we appeal to everyone shipping, packing and handling commodities that fall within the categories of these Cargoes of Concern to be particularly diligent,” comments Lars Kjaer, Senior Vice President, World Shipping Council. 

Dedicated to improving the safety, security and environmental performance throughout the containerized supply chain, a primary goal of the Cargo Integrity Group is to increase 
awareness and wider use of the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units – the CTU Code.  

As part of this effort the Group has developed a ‘Quick Guide’ to the CTU Code, together with a Checklist of actions and responsibilities for the guidance of those undertaking the packing of cargoes in freight containers. These are now available in all six official IMO languages as well as Italian.

About the Cargo Integrity Group

The Cargo Integrity Group brings together international freight transport and cargo handling organisations with different roles in the supply chain and a shared dedication to improving safety, security and environmental performance throughout the logistics supply chain. The Bureau International des Containers, the Container Owners Association, FIATA, the Global Shippers Forum, ICHCA, TT Club and the World Shipping Council are co-operating on a range of activities to further the adoption and implementation of crucial safety practices and regulations.

Cargo Integrity Group Media Contacts

Bureau International des Containers (BIC)
Douglas Owen, Secretary General, 

Container Owners Association (COA)
Patrick Hicks, Secretary, 

FIATA (International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations)
Pritha Prasad, 

Global Shippers Forum (GSF)
James Hookham, Secretary General,  

International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA International)
Maria Udy, Media contact, Portcare International, 

TT Club 
Peter Owen, Media contact, Portcare International, 

World Shipping Council (WSC)
Anna Larsson, Communications Director,


TT Club

TT Club