The ongoing danger of cargo forwarders taking advantage of the differential pricing of shipping by mis declaring hazardous cargo as non-hazardous has led the World Shipping Council (WSC) to present a “digital solution” in the battle to contain fires that result from such misdeclarations.
The WSC, representing liner carriers, has introduced a shared industry process for cargo screening and inspections.
The voluntary Cargo Safety Programme will rely on a digital solution made up of a common screening tool, a verified shipper database, and a database of approved container inspection companies, provided and operated by an independent third-party vendor. The WSC is seeking third-party provider proposals.
The core functionality of the system will be to screen booking information against a comprehensive keyword library and risk algorithm. High-risk bookings will be flagged for further investigation and/or inspection. lessons learned through experience will be used to improve the screening process. The emphasis is on identifying and correcting dangerous conditions before containers with dangerous cargoes are introduced into the supply chain.
John Butler, president of the WSC, said that “a common industry approach to cargo safety will create a safer working environment not only for ship crews, but for everyone involved in inland transport or working in ports and terminals, as well as for the communities around us. For shippers, it will make ocean transport more efficient and dependable, by stopping dangerous shipments that can disrupt the supply chain”.