Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), now a unit of China-based Cosco, is to accelerate its inspection of containers as part of an initiative to reduce on the transportation of misdeclared dangerous and hazardous cargo.
OOCL said in a notice to customers that “we are aware that there had been an increasing number of marine incidents being reported in 2019, many of which were suspected of potentially carrying un-declared and/or misdeclared hazardous cargo”, adding that “to ensure safety compliance on shore and at sea is met, OOCL will strengthen its Dangerous Cargo acceptance and container inspection policy by imposing additional verification before loading through selective or random inspections on dangerous goods and potential dangerous goods cargo.”
OOCL emphasized that it was the responsibility of all stakeholders in the carriage of goods to ensure all hazardous cargo was properly declared and handled according to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.
“We respectfully request our customers to provide OOCL with accurate and complete cargo information, and confirm all dangerous goods are properly classified, packed, marked, labelled, placarded, and documented for safe storage, handling, and transportation according to the applicable international and national regulation”, it said, warning that any inconsistencies between the declared cargo in the documents and what was physically inside the container would result in a Hazardous Cargo Misdeclaration Fee.
Depending on the type of deficiencies found in such a shipment, the container could be put out of service and the cargo might be put on hold where penalties may be imposed, and charges associated with the misdeclaration would be on the shipper’s account.