Market For Carrying Containers On Bulk Carriers Grows Rapidly

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  • The market for carrying containers on bulk carriers is rapidly growing on the back of record freight rates.
  • But there are many considerations operators need to make before carrying these boxes.

A recent news article published in the Riviera reveals about boost in container carrying on bulk carriers.

Riviera Maritime Media’s recent webinar

This was one of the main themes of Riviera Maritime Media’s recent webinar A new market for carriage of containers on bulk carriers, supported by Intercargo and sponsored by Britannia P&I, which also unveiled a new solutions for securing containers on bulk carriers.

Panellist Britannia P&I associate director, loss prevention Jacob Damgaard kicked the webinar off. He said, “Carrying containers on bulk carriers has been going on for some time but recently we have had a lot of inquiries, so it is a new market. Containers can be carried on bulk carriers safely but there are considerations the shipowner needs to make before accepting such cargo.”

He said they need to do a thorough risk assessment on the ship to be used to see what gaps there might be and how they can mitigate risks identified in the risk assessment.

Storage of containers

Mr Damgaard said, “Storage of containers is very different from grain or coal – they are stacked on top of each other, so securing is extremely important, containers need to be lashed to prevent them from storage collapse or from being lost overboard.”

Stability calculations are also an issue. Mr Damgaard pointed out the onboard manual may need to be adapted to show how to calculate containers. Furthermore, it must be ensured that hatch covers can withstand the load, as they may not be built for this, as bulk carriers do not carry cargo on deck.

What are the major considerations?

Other major considerations include fire protection, crew training, ensuring lashing equipment is used correctly and correct declaration of containerised cargo.

Mr Damgaard summed up, “We would like members to consider and assess before accepting such cargo. They need to consult class societies and flag states. They should notify the P&I club early on so they can assist with liabilities associated with this and how stop it having an impact on cover.

“It is the owner who is responsible to make sure that the ship is seaworthy and everything is fit for purpose.”

Elsewhere, panellist LIberian Registry senior vice president, maritime operations Cedric D’Souza said using bulk carriers to carry containers was “Quite a hot topic these days, demand is exceeding supply and such an operation is permitted”.

He pointed out it is acceptable from a regulatory standpoint – CSS Code Annex 1/Cargo Securing Manual. Major areas to consider include assessing the ship and hatch cover structural strength. There are, he said, two options for this:

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Source: Riviera

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