Industry bodies want better standards for dangerous goods transport, storage

The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) and the International Vessel Operators Dangerous Goods Association (IVODGA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to tackle safety issues of dangerous goods, storage and transport.

The collaboration of these two industry bodies will focus on producing clearly defined guidelines to best practice based on years of practical experience in handling dangerous goods.

Containership fires and explosions in port storage facilities continue to be the result of poorly packed and misdeclared hazardous materials as they move through the global supply chain, according to partners.

According to international transport and logistics insurer TT Club, it is estimated that a major containership fire incident at sea occurs on average every 60 days.

“The extraordinary disaster in Beirut last August was an all too unwelcome wake-up call to everyone involved in the transport, storage and distribution of dangerous materials,” Richard Steele, CEO of ICHCA International noted.

“However, similar incidents, smaller in proportion, yet damaging to life and limb as well as property happen across the supply chain on a frequent basis.”

A massive explosion occurred on 4 August in the vicinity of the Beirut Port Complex, wreaking havoc across the city and killing dozens of people.

The blast is believed to have originated from a chemical storage warehouse where an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate got ignited. The material has reportedly been confiscated from a ship a while ago and stored there, but without proper safety measures.

To tackle these rising problems, the partners will work on joint projects to improve standards across numerous common safety issues affecting the transport of dangerous goods.

“The mutual cooperation of IVODGA and ICHCA will be aimed at the universal understanding and application of measures for the safe handling and storage of a range of goods with potential to cause explosions, fires and noxious gas emissions etc.,” Steele also pointed out.

“The mutual goals and the shared respect of our two organisations will quickly result in a positive contribution to a clear and efficient communication between not just our respective members but crucially across all stakeholders in the supply chain whose interests touch any and all hazardous materials,” Uffe V. Ernst Frederiksen, A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S, Vice Chair of IVODGA and Special Adviser to ICHCA International.

In September 2020, ICHCA has partnered with four international freight transport and cargo handling organisations to help reduce container-related incidents aboard ships.

One of the aims of this collaboration is to promote awareness and wider use of the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units – the CTU Code.

World Maritime News

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