The use of freight containers, swap bodies, vehicles or other cargo transport units substantially reduces the physical hazards to which cargoes are exposed. However, improper or careless packing of cargoes into/onto such units, or lack of proper blocking, bracing and lashing, may be the cause of personnel injury when they are handled or transported. In addition, serious and costly damage may occur to the cargo or to the equipment.
The types of cargoes carried in freight containers has expanded over many years and innovations such as use of flexitanks and developments allow heavy, bulky items which were traditionally loaded directly into the ships’ hold (e.g. stone, steel, wastes and project cargoes), to be carried in cargo transport units.
The person who packs and secures cargo into/onto the cargo transport unit (CTU) may be the last person to look inside the unit until it is opened at its final destination. Consequently, a great many people in the transport chain will rely on the skill of such persons, including:
- road vehicle drivers and other road users when the unit is transported by road;
- rail workers, and others, when the unit is transported by rail;
- crew members of inland waterway vessels when the unit is transported on inland waterways;
- handling staff at terminals when the unit is transferred from one transport mode to another;
- dock workers when the unit is loaded or unloaded;
- crew members of a seagoing ship during the transport operation;
- those who have a statutory duty to inspect cargoes; and
- those who unpack the unit.
All persons, such as the above, passengers and the public, may be at risk from a poorly packed freight container, swap body or vehicle.
Table 1: Summary of contents
Related informative material1
Consequences of improper packing procedures
Chains of responsibility and information
Safe handling of CTUs
Typical documents related to transport
General transport conditions
Prevention of condensation damages
Arrival, checking and positioning of CTUs
Minimizing the risk of recontamination
Species of concern regarding recontamination
Packing cargo into CTUs
Packing and securing cargo into CTUs (supplemented with appendices 1 to 5)
Access to tank and bulk tops, working at height
Quick lashing guides
Intermodal load distribution
Transport of perishable cargo
Additional advice on the packing of dangerous goods
On completion of packing
Advice on receipt and unpacking of CTUs
Testing CTUs for hazardous gases
Training in packing of CTUs
Topics for consideration in a training programme
1 Available at www.unece.org/trans/wp24/guidelinespackingctus/intro.html.