TT Talk - Dangerous Goods - be alert!

As TT Talk goes to press, there are reports of another container, allegedly laden with pesticides, exploding. The Club has frequently highlighted the risks arising from errors throughout the supply chain from manufacture through packing and labelling to documentation. The volumes of declared dangerous goods could be as high as 13 million TEU each year - and then there is an unknown volume of undeclared goods. Added to this, the largest container ships now in service could, if totally lost, give rise to claims exceeding USD2.1 billion.

The TT Club continues to encourage everyone in the supply chain to 'know your customer' in order to identify whether questionable cargo may be involved and advocates that simple, random inspections by carriers, with penalty charges, might be a good deterrent. The Club also has promoted training initiatives, such as the e-learning and certification procedures developed by Exis Technologies. In support of this, the Club is seeking to support the UK government's initiative to amend the IMDG Code in order to mandate shoreside training. This will be presented to a sub-committee of the IMO in September 2007 and the Club is urging shipowners to lobby their flag states to endorse this change.

The Club believes that concerted, industry-wide action is required to avert another 'Hanjin Pennsylvania' or 'Hyundai Fortune' - and is proposing a 'summit' for the major container lines to understand the scale of the problem and debate further potential actions.