Specialist freight transport insurer TT Club has issued specific guidance on packing and securing coiled materials in containers in a bid to prevent the costly and potentially injurious consequences of improperly secured coils.
Investigations into incidents along the international supply chain – on roads, rail, inland waterway or at sea – “can often be attributed to poor practices in the packing of cargo transport units (CTUs) and coiled materials are a particular hazard,” TT Club, an international transport and logistics provider of insurance and related risk management services, reported Tuesday.
The free guidelines, Transport of Coiled Materials in Containers, focus on how container packers can understand the risks involved through the supply chain to ensure coils are successfully packed and secured successfully.
The packer is responsible for securing the cargo within a CTU, the guidance notes. Among other things, “this responsibility requires that cargo is secured and positioned so that the centre of gravity is as close to CTU’s centre of gravity and that the mass of the cargo is evenly distributed over the floor,” it adds.
The guidance also specifically supports less sophisticated operations reliant primarily on timber for load distribution and bracing, where the greatest risk exposure has been witnessed.
The mutual insurer has dealt with numerous incidents involving coils, mostly of steel, that “have been improperly packed and insufficiently secured in the container, leading to the cargo shifting inside the unit and usually breaking out, resulting in injuries or damage to property,” notes the statement from TT Club.
There are forces exerted on the freight during braking or turning of a road vehicle, variable handling techniques at port terminals and sometimes violent motions of a ship at sea, the insurer explains.
The consequences of said forces “on poorly packed cargo will, of course, vary from overturned trucks to train derailment and damaged cranes to containers lost overboard and damage to the ship,” the statement points out.
Hazards associated with coiled materials, the guidelines say, include the following:
coiled materials, especially those with a higher density such as steel, can present the packer with a small footprint, a high mass and an unstable package;
each of these requires careful consideration for a safe and satisfactory outcome;
coils on their side are liable to roll, while coils on their end may tip; and
coils on their sides, with their small footprint, need to be properly bedded to avoid exerting unacceptable forces onto the floor of the CTU, especially when carried in a standard intermodal container.
“Coils have even been known to break through the floor of a carrying unit and escaped into traffic,” reports TT Club. “In short, improperly secured coil materials can have significant and fatal consequences.”
Convergence of interest between TT Club and maritime carriers involved in the CINS Organisation in relation to incidents involving coiled materials led to a collaboration to update and expand TT Club’s previous StopLoss briefing guide, which addresses the carriage of metal coils.
The resultant document provides guidance for bedding and securing heavier coiled materials in intermodal containers, concentrating on structures that may be assembled by the packer using locally sourced materials, generally properly treated timber.
Past experiences “led us to collaborate with the CINS Organisation, a significant safety-based initiative set up by major container shipping lines,” TT Club’s Peregrine Storrs-Fox says in the statement.
“We are keen to extend the knowledge it (the guidance) contains, as well as engender further training of cargo packers throughout the global shipper and forwarder community,” adds CINS general secretary Patrick Hicks.
TT Club is managed by Thomas Miller, whose principal activities include management services for transport and professional indemnity insurance mutuals, investment management for institutions and private clients, professional services and managing general agents.