TT Club urges IMO Member States to increase container and cargo inspections

Logistics and transport insurance mutual TT Club has urged IMO Member States to increase container and cargo inspections and to submit reports urgently.

It noted that past reporting of inspections carried out had been sparse.

In welcoming the IMO’s revised guidelines for inspections, the international freight transport insurer TT Club exhorted governments to report findings to IMO on 2021 inspections, as well as to increase the volume of inspections carried out.

This, it said, would support industry players who were striving to ensure safety and reduce dangerous incidents.

Revised Guidelines for the Implementation of the Inspection of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs) issued last month by the IMO were aimed at helping governments to implement a uniform and safe inspection programme. The IMO Circular (MSC.1/Circ.1649) seeks to broaden the inspections undertaken and align fully with safety guidance developed during the last decade.

Specifically, governments were now requested to select from all cargo types, rather than simply declared dangerous goods, for inspection. Further the guidance takes account of the issuance of the CTU Code, revisions of container safety regulations and the need to minimize the movement of invasive pests.

The Circular additionally noted the continuing low rate submission of inspection reports and encourages an increase in such inspections.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox, TT’s Risk Management Director, said that “with the string of container ship fire casualties and fatal incidents at storage facilities, most recently at Chittagong (Chattogram), in our minds, our current concerns are manifest. They constantly remind us of the importance of adequate safety procedures in packing, handling and transporting the array of cargoes that have the potential to cause catastrophic incidents”.

He observed that, with only five of the 179 governments affiliated with IMO submitting reports on inspections at the last Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) sub-committee meeting in September 2021, the industry was urgently seeking more collaborative support from governments in combatting the potential circumstances and cargo packing practices that cause dangerous incidents.

TT called for a viable sample of inspections in future based on the new guidelines. TT urged strongly that governments enter dialogue with industry to understand how the latter could work with enforcement agencies to improve safety.”

Storrs-Fox concluded that “the international supply chains that service the trade in a myriad of commodities are complex and notoriously susceptible to disruption. Congestion and delays increase the challenges involved in maintaining safety levels in an environment where the demand for reliable delivery of goods is high. Such circumstances require an even higher level of attention to safe practices. The collection of information on the effective use and/or mis-use of these practices needs to be enhanced by a much higher level of rigorous inspections and report submissions from governments, but working from the understanding that this is a shared problem.”