The TT Club has growing concerns about lax cargo packing practices and erroneous, sometimes fraudulent, declaration of cargoes
Misdeclaration, says the TT Club, is strongly suspected as being either the cause of, or at least contributory to, the spate of container ship fires in recent months. As such, the insurer has welcomed initiatives by liner operators to stamp the practice out.
Under the banners ‘Cargo Integrity’ and Fit4Freight, TT Club has been collaborating with stakeholders through the freight supply chain to highlight ongoing risks, including severe ship fires, arising from poorly packed and declared cargo.
In light of the increase in incidents, the loss of life, significant costs and delays to cargo deliveries, the lines are strengthening their inspection procedures and imposing fines on shippers found to have misdeclared.
Peregrine Storrs-Fox, TT Club’s Risk Management Director, commented: “Clearly, the shipper has primary responsibility to declare fully and honestly so that carriers are able to take appropriate actions to achieve safe transport. Since this is not always the case, carriers have to put in place increasingly sophisticated and costly control mechanisms to "know their customers," screen booking information and physically inspect shipments.
"Equally, carriers have the opportunity to review any barriers to accurate shipment declaration, including minimising any unnecessary restrictions and surcharges. Penalising shippers where deficiencies are found should be applauded. Furthermore, government enforcement agencies are encouraged to take appropriate action under national or international regulations to deter poor practices further.”
The TT Club’s Cargo Integrity campaign seeks not only to promote awareness of good practice, such as set out in the CTU Code, but also to reveal the plethora of influences from both direct and indirect stakeholders within the supply chain that result in practices leading to dangerous incidents on land or at sea.