7.2.1       All cargo which is sensitive against weather conditions such as rain, snow, dust and sunlight, or against theft and other consequences of easy access should be carried in a closed or sheeted CTU. Freight containers, closed or sheeted swap bodies, semi-trailers and other road vehicles are suitable for most cargoes.

7.2.2       Single packages such as:

  • Cartons stacked by hand;
  • Drums or similar packages stacked by forklift truck; or
  • Any kind of palletized cargo

can be packed and preferably stowed from boundary to boundary. However, it depends on the type of CTU, whether such firm stowage alone provides sufficient cargo securing or whether additional securing is needed (see section 9.4).

7.2.3       Certain cargoes such as cocoa or other agricultural produce are sensitive against climatic effects and may be damaged when the humidity within the CTU is condensed due to a decrease of temperature. This effect is specific for long distance sea transport and can be controlled by appropriate ventilation. Standard freight containers however allow only restricted air changes. Therefore, specially designed containers with increased ventilation may be preferred for such sensitive cargo.

7.2.4       Certain perishable cargoes such as foodstuffs and, in particular, deep frozen products, require transport at low temperatures. Other products, e.g. certain chemicals, need to be protected from frost. Such commodities should be transported in insulated and temperature controlled CTUs which can be refrigerated or heated as appropriate.

7.2.5       Heavy items such as granite and marble blocks may also be packed into closed CTUs. However, this cargo cannot be simply stowed from wall to wall. Bracing and blocking against the frame of the CTU and/or lashing to the securing points is necessary (see annex 7, section 4.3). As the lashing capacity of the securing points in general purpose freight containers is limited, such standard containers might not be appropriate for certain large and heavy cargo items. Instead, platforms or flatracks could be used.

7.2.6       Cargo items of extreme dimensions may not fit inside a standard CTU as they exceed the inner width, length and perhaps also the height of the unit. Such cargo may be accommodated on a platform or on a flatrack. When the cargo is only “over-height” but not “over-width” an open top CTU may also be suitable.

7.2.7       Heavy cargo items lifted by a forklift truck may result in a front axle load exceeding the maximum permissible concentrated load inside a CTU. For example modern freight containers are designed to withstand a force of 0.5 kN/cm2 which may limit package masses to approximately 3 to 3.5 tons depending on the type of forklift truck used. For heavy cargo, open top, open side or platform CTUs should be used so that the cargo can be loaded from the top or from the side without a need to drive into the CTU with the forklift truck. For load distribution, see annex 7, section 3.1.

7.2.8       Some cargoes such as scrap metal are usually handled by grabs or by conveyors. When this cargo is to be loaded into a CTU and a conveyor is not available, the only suitable CTU type is an open top CTU capable to be loaded with grabs. Placing the CTU vertically on its end and “pouring” the cargo in through the open doors is not permitted.

7.2.9       General purpose CTUs are not suitable for certain long, heavy and irregular cargo items such as timber logs, as the side walls are not designed to withstand the acceleration forces of such cargo and may suffer bulging damages. Stowage in shape of a pyramid and securing by lashing is extremely difficult in a freight container, because the securing points are not accessible after this cargo is loaded, unless the lashings are arranged before loading. Therefore, such cargo should preferably be carried only on platform or flatrack CTUs.

7.2.10     Liquid and solid bulk cargoes should be preferably transported in tank CTUs or solid bulk CTUs. Under certain conditions, liquid bulk cargo may be carried in flexitanks which are stowed in CTUs. Similarly, solid bulk may be carried in general purpose CTUs which are equipped with a liner. However, CTUs used for such purposes should be suitably reinforced[1] and prepared, operational restrictions regarding the permissible payload should be observed (see annex 7, section 5).

[1]     False bulkheads may be fitted at the rear (door) end as required.