TT Talk - A wind of cultural change in container shipping

While widespread attention is drawn to major maritime incidents or catastrophic events, such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, liner operators have individually been concerned at the number of lesser incidents and problems that disrupt operations and endanger lives, property or the environment. A committee has been formed to address these concerns, chaired by MSC and comprising CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd, and Maersk. The COA (Container Owners' Association) has agreed to host a database system, known as CINSNET (Cargo Incident Notification System Network) on which key data can be captured. The TT Club, as a key insurer for the transport industry, and the International Group of P&I Clubs, have also been involved in the project and are advisory members of the CINS committee.

The intention of CINS is to allow the liner operators to capture structured key causal information relating to cargo and container incidents

. Analysis of the captured data by the lines and their Clubs will facilitate a greater awareness of areas of concern and trends, which will improve safety in the supply chain. The information capture explicitly excludes any shipper data in order to preclude an anti-trust concerns; the CINS Organisation has committed to comply with the US Sherman Act, Article 101 and 102 of EU treaty and any other similar competition law. A dedicated website has been established to hold the information and will be formally launched in September 2011.

Gathering such information will provide an early warning of worrying trends

. Furthermore, it will alert carriers to difficulties encountered with cargoes that display dangerous characteristics but may not yet have been recognised as such in the IMDG Code. This will provide information for consideration in the biennial review of the Code.

The level of anticipated transparency will also reveal how widespread unsafe practices are in the unit load industry

. Thus, apart from potentially leading to and supporting relevant changes in legislation or other safe practice recommendations, it will inevitably drive improved dissemination of advice and training, including issues of packing and securing of cargo within containers.

At the heart of this initiative is a quest for quality - both in terms of pure service delivery, ensuring the cargo arrives in sound condition on time, and also improving the way in which all parties in the supply chain carry out their obligations and communicate

. It will enhance the safety of carriage of cargo in the supply chain and reduce the risk to the people involved, assets and the environment.

Through the CINS initiative, the actions by regulators to require verification of weight declaration (IMO), twinned with improved guidance on the proper stowing and securing of cargo within containers (ILO/IMO/UN ECE), will be provided with statistical overview and substantive input. However, it will also focus attention on other cargo-related issues and drive improvements in safety standards.

Staff Author

TT Club