Interview with HCB Live: episode 3 - innovation in safety

Interview with HCB Live episode 3 innovation in safety
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Episode 3 of Peter Mackay, HCB Live's interview on containership fires with TT Club's Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-fox. This episode focuses on how individual players are working to crack down on misdeclared goods and the difficulties of implementing these initiatives industry wide. Are tighter restrictions, combined with tight deadlines, encouraging shippers to misdeclare cargo to avoid delays?

Watch the full video here are read the detailed summary below

Promoting Innovation in Safety: Enhancing Cargo Inspection and Compliance 

Innovation plays a crucial role in improving safety measures within the shipping industry. Recent developments in safety practices have focused on addressing the issues of banned goods and the importance of proper cargo declaration. One notable example of innovation in safety is the Cargo Patrol technology implemented by Hapag-Lloyd, which won the TT Club Innovation in Safety Award. This technology ensures rigorous inspection and identification of potential flags at the point of booking, helping to prevent the shipment of undeclared or mis-declared cargo. 

Enhancing Cargo Declaration and Inspection  

Cargo Patrol technology aids in the identification of synonyms and potential flags related to different types of cargo. It enables thorough investigation and verification of commodities that require further scrutiny. By implementing this technology, Hapag-Lloyd aims to prevent the shipment of non-compliant or mis-declared goods, reducing the risk of incidents such as fires onboard vessels. 

Challenges of Inconsistent Safety Practices  

While some shipping lines have embraced innovative safety measures, there is a need for industry-wide standardization. Varying methodologies across different lines create a potential for non-compliance and inadequate cargo screening. If cargo is rejected by one line due to non-compliance, there is a risk that it may be accepted by another line with less rigorous processes, ultimately posing a safety hazard. Standardizing safety practices would ensure consistent cargo screening and minimize risks associated with non-compliant shipments. 

Complexities in Supply Chain Restrictions  

The modern supply chain poses numerous challenges due to a multitude of restrictions applied by carriers, port authorities, and trade regulations. Different carriers have varying policies regarding the types of cargo they accept, often based on factors such as available space or flag state regulations. Physical constraints on vessels can further complicate stowage planning, requiring careful consideration to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Additionally, port rotations introduce additional restrictions that must be adhered to, further increasing the complexity of cargo management. 

The Importance of Inspections and Collaboration  

Efforts to enhance safety practices include cargo inspections during the acceptance process and even during loading. Government inspection programs, while mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), are not consistently implemented. However, certain shipping lines have initiated pilot programs to inspect a broader range of cargoes, including imports and general cargo.  

These inspections have revealed deficiencies, highlighting the need for proactive collaboration between shipping lines and shippers to rectify non-compliant practices. By working together, lines can guide shippers and packers toward compliant methods, fostering a positive approach to achieving safety standards. 

Penalties as a Deterrent  

To further encourage compliance, some lines have announced penalties for non-compliant cargo found during inspections. These penalties serve as a deterrent and enable lines to recover the costs associated with inspections and additional checks. The imposition of penalties not only helps ensure compliance but also supports the overall goal of improving safety throughout the supply chain. 

Continuation of Inspection Programs  

Lines that have been involved in inspection programs have reported positive outcomes and expressed a desire to continue these initiatives. The ability to identify and address mis-declared cargo through proactive collaboration contributes to incident prevention and enhances the integrity of the entire supply chain. 


Innovation in safety measures, such as advanced cargo screening technologies and collaborative inspection programs, plays a vital role in reducing the risks associated with undeclared or mis-declared cargo. By standardizing safety practices and promoting compliance, the shipping industry can ensure the safety of vessels, port areas, and transportation routes.  

Ongoing efforts to enhance safety practices and foster collaboration between shipping lines and stakeholders will contribute to a safer and more efficient supply chain for all.

Staff Author

TT Club