TT Talk - Supporting the unit load cool chain
In collaboration with UK P&I Club, TT Club has developed a new StopLoss publication which considers the risk exposures associated with the transport of temperature controlled cargo through the global supply chain and provides guidance as to how to avoid losses.
The initiative to publish a guide on the temperature controlled supply chain has been birthed out of experience of operational issues faced by supply chain stakeholders, as well as incidents that have led to claims. Apart from input from the two Clubs, the text has been drafted with the assistance of experts involved in this specialised trade and sophisticated intermodal equipment.
The publication provides a knowledge resource whilst outlining good practice in a chronological form through the natural flow of the supply chain. The various stakeholders and their respective responsibilities according to the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of practice for Packing Cargo Transport Units are identified within the text. For any given stakeholder, understanding their own and counter-parties’ responsibilities is an imperative prerequisite to achieve success in the temperature controlled supply chain.
"For any given stakeholder, understanding their own and counter-parties’ responsibilities is an imperative prerequisite to achieve success in the temperature controlled supply chain."
For ease of reference, here are the key responsibilities for each of the primary stakeholders.
- ensure that the cargo description is accurate and the requirements for carriage are passed to other stakeholders
- ensure that the cargo is pre-cooled as necessary, prior to being packed into the reefer for transport
- ensure that the packaging of the cargo is suitable for transport in terms of both strength and ventilation
- ensure that data are accurately received, recorded and passed to other stakeholders in the supply chain
- maintain the reefer equipment and ensure it is provided in full working order
- ensure the CTU is clean and free of debris, cargo residues, noxious materials, plants, plant products and visible pests
- ensure that the cargo is carefully stowed within the reefer CTU without causing damage
- ensure that the cargo is packed to promote good airflow in transit and avoid air blockages
- ensure that the cargo is evenly distributed to avoid weight eccentricities
- ensure that the reefer equipment is set correctly and is operational
- receive the cargo and instructions for transport and adhere to those instructions
- ensure, as appropriate, that the reefer CTU is plugged in and remains under power
- check the temperature control machinery to monitor performance and ensure that the cool chain remains unbroken.
- check the cargo upon arrival
- safely remove the cargo from the reefer CTU without causing damage to cargo or unit
- ensure that the reefer CTU is returned clean and free of debris, cargo residues, noxious materials, plants, plant products or visible pests
The Stop Loss publication seeks to address common issues around equipment selection, maintenance, pre-trip inspection and cleaning. The text goes on to explore the fundamentals of packaging and packing of cargo into a reefer CTU, and the importance of the accuracy of in-transit instructions.
The publication incorporates several pieces of valuable operational reference material. Data such as a temperature conversion chart and a list of common transport temperatures for a selection of cargoes seek to assist operators to identify potential errors early in the supply chain and implement preventative or corrective actions to avoid losses.
In the event of an incident, there is also a section outlining good practice as to immediate steps to be taken to mitigate a potential loss.
Finally the document provides a simple twelve point check list for all stakeholders in order to transport temperature controlled cargo successfully through the supply chain.
- Has the cargo to be shipped been clearly identified?
- Does the subject cargo have any special requirements?
- Have clear instructions been received regarding the requirements of the transport?
- Have you selected the most appropriate CTU for the cargo and transport?
- Has the pre-trip inspection been undertaken and the CTU passed?
- Is the CTU clean and free from debris and pests?
- Has the cargo been appropriately packaged for the intended transport in the intended reefer CTU?
- Has the subject cargo been pre-cooled where appropriate?
- Has the reefer CTU been correctly set in terms of temperature, ventilation, humidity and controlled atmosphere (where appropriate).
- Has the subject cargo been packed and secured correctly within the CTU?
- Has the CTU been sealed?
- Have all received instructions been passed accurately to all stakeholders through the intended supply chain?
It is hoped that this straight-forward guide will assist the diverse stakeholders in the temperature controlled supply chain achieve greater certainty of outcome. It is published at a time when customer and regulatory expectations are generally increasing, while the attractiveness of unit loads for many commodities is also becoming more compelling. The operational challenges and risk/reward quotient require due attention from all.
We hope that you will 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.
Risk Management Director, TT Club
You may also be interested in:
Read more about supply chain challenges and protection of cargo from cargo theft as the world prepares to distribute the vaccine
The use of standardised containers for much of global trade has become second nature; the range of cargo types utilising such units continues to expand. There is significant reliance placed by the various stakeholders on the overall integrity of the concept, some explicit and some implicit.
The leading international freight transport and logistics insurer, TT Club has drawn attention to action required to reduce perishable cargo losses and refrigerated container failures and damage.