TT Talk - Championing innovation in safety

Man Gives Presentation In Front Of A TV Screen

The loss prevention function of TT Club considers all aspects of safety and security through the global supply chain. As a part of this continued mission, TT has forged collaborations with a number of industry organisations. One such long-standing collaboration is with the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA).

Innovation is critical in improving risk. It is recognised that many port and terminal operators are committed to safety; it has become part of the culture in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, the industry continues to experience a number of common, recurrent losses. Whether confined space risks, working at height, vehicle collisions or people being struck by vehicles or machinery, the risks stubbornly persist.

Innovation is critical in improving risk

While technology continues to advance at pace, it has been evident that innovations may lack success or deserved traction. This may be through lack of understanding of end-to-end process challenges, limited profile or simply because ready solutions remain hidden in the answer to a different industry’s challenge.

An important component of the work both TT Club and ICHCA undertake in this context is seeking to ‘join the dots’. Understanding the risks faced and continually being alert to innovators, including existing and emerging technologies across industry and beyond – and where appropriate promoting and providing introductions.

TT Innovation in Safety Award

The established Innovation in Safety Award aims to encourages safety innovation – especially at a time of increased operational demand on global cargo handling. It is much more than a celebration – though all entrants deserve wholehearted recognition for their passion to do the right things right. The award also encapsulates learning and thought leadership principles. The priority for TT and ICHCA is to publicise the safety ideas identified through the award process with as wide an audience as possible, recognising that any of the entries could be the next giant leap in improving how another operator succeeds in health and safety.

Any of the entries could be the next giant leap in improving how another operator succeeds in health and safety

The award also provides direct evidence that the industry is actively innovating and changing. It sets a challenge to everyone to raise standards and ensure that the people who keep the world economy going, get to go home from work in the same condition that they arrived.

The 2021 award process was the fourth time that it has been held. TT remains committed to pursuing an innovation and continuous improvement agenda, and is delighted to partner with ICHCA in this process. From over 30 entries in 2021, ranging from fire-fighting products, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), through to innovative process driven solutions, three finalists were shortlisted, being VIKING Life-Saving Equipment, PSA International and Kalmar Cargotec Sweden. During a live webinar event in February 2022 Viking Life-Saving Equipment was announced as winner.

Since each entry marks a valuable contribution to advancing safety, a digest of all the submissions has been published. This is a simple way to ensure that there is widespread opportunity to evaluate the innovations in places they have not yet been deployed. This digest is freely available on both the ICHCA and TT websites.

Following the growing recognition of this award, in collaboration with ICHCA, TT will continue to support this celebration of industry innovation, with the announcement of the 2022 award to be made later this year.

Safety village

Further seeking to value innovation, TT launched a safety village concept at TOC (Terminal Operators Conference) Europe in Rotterdam in June. The idea was to provide a platform for safety innovators in the port and terminal sector, promoting innovation and facilitating discussion around what keeps operational managers awake at night in the context of risk. Typically, it is not the large ‘black swan’ events that are of greatest concern to risk managers on a day-to-day basis; it is the attritional risks, small incidents that occur frequently, but with the potential to deliver a large claim.

Developing an understanding at this level affords innovators opportunities to consider creative solutions that might be developed, through process change, technology or a combination. One feature of the safety village was a ‘worry wall’, which attracted a good number of concerns. Many related to known risks around cargo or equipment fires, some around container lashing and securing issues, but a third reflected continuing concern around the human/machine interface in the port environment. Each contribution provided food for thought.

Additionally, the inaugural safety village hosted a number of speakers during the three-day conference, including representatives from:

  • ConexBird - remote measurement of the structural condition of shipping containers.
  • LASE Industrial Laser Measurement - using laser applications to improve safety.
  • Traxens - smart tracking solutions for containers to detect security breaches, temperature changes, shock detection and more.
  • Arck Sensor - robust and accurate sensors for container ports to improve crane automation and operational safety.
  • Yardeye - tracking technology to ensure that automated equipment and humans work together safely in intermodal yards.
  • Azur Drones - new generation drones for port safety and security.
  • Adveez - fleet management and speed control systems.
  • KALP - automatic lashing programme removes twist locks without human interference.

The safety village attracted wide interest from both delegates and innovators, providing insight into a number of available solutions to common operational challenges.

The challenge to the industry is to recognise risk exposures and opportunities to enhance safety, engaging with innovators to develop solutions. Operational personnel working in the port and terminal industry continue to face a number of safety challenges, most particularly related to the more manual tasks, such as lashing and placement/removal of twist locks. While technology frequently provides much opportunity, and there are inevitable pulls towards elements of automation, some substantial advances in safety come through effective workforce/management communications. Working in collaboration generally assists in overcoming challenges and realising safety innovations that improve the risk profile.

Working in collaboration generally assists in overcoming challenges and realising safety innovations that improve the risk profile


If you would like further information, or have any comments, please email us, or take this opportunity to forward to any others who you may feel would be interested.


  • TT Talk 288 Chinese Translation 693 KB


    Download PDF

Mike Yarwood

TT Club