Container Safety in Motion as Industry Moves to Cut Losses


In an unprecedented period of container stack collapses between November 2020 and February the following year, some 5,762 boxes were lost from five major incidents, mainly in the Pacific.

The tragic events that winter featured comparatively new vessels, including ONE Apus and Maersk Essen. And, using the average value per container of $40,000 per box, that could be more than $230m in cargo losses – without calculating the environmental damage caused by these stack collapses.

The average annual container losses from ships amounted to between 1,000 and 1,500 containers lost in the decade from 2010 to 2019, with the notable exception of 2013, which saw the loss of more than 4,000 boxes with the sinking of MOL Comfort.

Ship designers have moved to mitigate the level of losses through container stack collapses, with Hyundai Heavy Industries announcing on 1 November its development of extended cell guides that will do away with lashing, saving time and money and making container stacks more stable.

Approved in principle by both US class society ABS and the Liberian flag, the system does away with hatch covers and uses a “portable bench” that effectively transfers the container load to the hull, holding the stack without lashings.

HHI’s development may well become the norm, but current vessels still need lashing bridges and lashing work by both crew and dockers, and the risk of container losses from the existing fleet remains.

As a result, lines enlisted the help of maritime experts at Dutch institute Marin to research the causes of stack collapses, in a three-year programme named TopTier, to solve the mystery of the sudden increase in losses.

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Source: the loadstar


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