TT Talk - The long game

As the supply chain industry globally is gearing up to comply with the SOLAS amendment that, from 1 July 2016, requires verified gross mass for every packed container, it is worth reiterating that container weight is just one (relatively small) part of ramping up safety.

TT Club, amongst a number of other organisations, has been delivering the message about the amendment to SOLAS requiring verified gross mass (VGM) of packed containers long and hard. Judging from the number of conference sessions on the topic of late, let alone the on-going consultations undertaken by many national competent authorities, the industry is increasingly aware of the forthcoming obligations and taking steps to be compliant. There remain many conversations between the stakeholders to be had - everyone with national authorities, lines with shippers/forwarders, lines with terminals; time is running short.

VGM - the first goal

However, despite the necessary focus in order to put in place the processes, systems and controls to ensure compliance - recognising that no VGM = no load from 1 July 2016 - it is important to understand that this is, in reality, but one solid step in the direction of making the unit load industry more certain and safer. There are other specific changes afoot relating to the Convention for Safe Containers and related regulations/circulars as well as ISO standards for handling and securing containers.

Another topic close to TT Club's heart is heightening the awareness of the dangerous consequences of improperly packed containers. TT Club's own claims experience shows that 65% of incidents involving loss or damage to cargo can be attributed, at least in part, to poor or incorrect packing.

Insufficient knowledge and inadequate skills are the main causes of such claims, and result not just in cargo being lost or damaged but also in damage to equipment, property and the environment, as well as injuries to workers and the general public.

The existence and standing of the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code) should be familiar to all readers. TT Club additionally sponsored CTUpack e-learning (

) to support awareness training compliant with the new code and continues to develop ways of helping to promote good practice and effective training. In this context, it is worth highlighting the work of the IMO Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes & Containers in September 2015 which resulted in recommending a draft circular on the '

Due diligence checklist in identifying providers of CTU-related services'.

This is expected to be adopted by the 'parent' Maritime Safety Committee in May 2016.

This work has arisen from commonly held concerns that the simple existence of the CTU Code needed to be supported by guidance on how to promote a culture of safety in the supply chain, including further definition of the roles of the participants and related entities, and how each may effect behavioural change. Whether in relation to the VGM issue or more directly packing of CTUs, this draft IMO circular is commended as clarifying the steps the stakeholders can take to 'raise the game'.

Games with serious message

Talking of game, TT Club has also designed and developed the 'Containing the Risk' game by which you can access how good your packing skills really are! The game consists of blocks of various shapes and sizes, which need to be packed correctly into a scale model container. The blocks display their nominal mass and a number of other symbols that are commonly used in the industry to denote specific risks. By attending to the symbols etched onto the blocks, looking out for fragile or dangerous goods, it is possible to ensure that your container has optimal load distribution and is safe. In this simplified game schema, if packed correctly, your container would be likely to proceed through the supply chain without incident! This game will shortly be available for purchase.

In this festive season, we would also mention the unique learning initiative in the form of a board game, which is designed to be played at varying levels of complexity. TT Club sponsored this UK-based educational game, 'Business on the Move' (

), seeing the initiative as an imaginative means to educate and inspire young people, motivating an interest in and comprehension of modern supply chains and the transport resources that service them.

The aim of the game is for players to move different products from China to their customers in the United Kingdom by land, sea and air, as quickly, as profitably and as responsibly as they can. In so doing, they are faced with taking decisions similar to those made regularly by many businesses, such as: 'How do I meet the delivery deadline?' . 'Will I make a profit?' .. 'How can I improve my supply chain?' and 'How can I cut my carbon footprint?'

The originality of the Business on the Move game and the learning environment it creates is tremendously appealing. TT Club remains excited at the opportunity to promote a greater awareness among younger people of the crucial role supply chain services play in today's global economy, encouraging them to become part of this vibrant industry as a career.

"the opportunity to promote a greater awareness among younger people of the crucial role supply chain services play in today's global economy"

If you would like to learn more about either of these games, please contact


We hope that you have found the above interesting. If you would like further information, or have any comments, please email us, or take this opportunity to forward to any colleagues who you may feel would be interested.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox

Risk Management Director, TT Club

Staff Author

TT Club