Driving To Deliver Your Business


Snippets of Logistics News

Some Smaller But No Less Important Stories Around the Industry NETHERLANDS – In multimodal news the new short-sea container service between Amsterdam and Hull which was announced earlier this month[1] was formally inaugurated this week with the first call of the 340 TEU vessel THEA II at Amsterdam Container Terminal (ACT). The service, operated by Samskip[2] offers three sailings a week on this new route with vessels departing from Amsterdam on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Terminal and intermodal functions are performed by ACT, operated by TMA Logistics[3] in which Hutchison Ports[4] is a 50% shareholder.

The new service calling at the deep water facility was welcomed by the Director of Energy, Cargo & Offshore at the Port of Amsterdam[5], Femke Brenninkmeijer who said the new route was a perfect fit for the Port’s core business as a central short sea hub for Europe.

NETHERLANDS – The European Rail Freight Association (ERFA[6]) which represents new entrants into the track borne cargo market, all of whom doubtless want open access and fair market conditions, has spoken on the subject of new ‘marks ups’ which could be introduced in the Netherlands from 2020. The Dutch government has introduced new rules that enable the infrastructure manager ProRail to apply new mark ups in the calculation of track access charges. For rail freight operators, new mark-ups could be introduced based on train path efficiency, among others.

Although officials argue that this could lead to lower access charges for some, others suggest the contrary. A mark up is the difference between the cost to the supplier and the end price charged, in other words the gross profit. The amount is strictly limited by the regulatory authorities and the ERFA say that the current consultation between ProRail and the Dutch Regulatory Body should include input from those companies it represents.

The principal concern is competitiveness and that ProRail future mark ups reflect the ability of rail to compete with road rather than looking inwardly at the railway system. The ERFA believes that with track access charges accounting for between 20 and 35% of total operational costs of the railway undertakings an increase in these costs could weigh heavily on the rail freight competitiveness and improving the financial performance of rail freight via lower track access charges must be the first objective of European infrastructure managers considering the sworn efforts of the railway undertakings to improve quality. UK – The Road Haulage Association (RHA[7]) is concerned about reports that criminals are ‘gassing’ lorry drivers before stealing goods from their trucks.

In one incident a haulier was parked overnight on an industrial estate in the West Midlands and woke up the next morning to find that thieves had slashed the curtain on one side of the lorry and stolen cargo valued at thousands of pounds. The driver had seemingly been ‘gassed’ whilst asleep and remained unconscious throughout the incident. He was taken to hospital for tests before being released, and there have also been a number of incidents reported in South Yorkshire where criminals have used similar methods to target drivers before stealing goods.

The RHA has urged hauliers to remain vigilant and do all they can to keep themselves safe especially when they have no choice but to take their daily or weekly rest breaks in secluded spots and laybys. HONG KONG – WORLDWIDE – Cathay Pacific Cargo[8] has announced a new partnership with va-Q-tec[9], provider of thermal packaging solutions for temperature controlled transportation. The Bavarian headquartered company produces passive thermal containers, which are designed to maintain a constant temperature during transportation for more than five days and are intended to improve Cathay Pacific Cargo’s Pharma LIFT portfolio by providing its global customers with a solution to the problem of moving life-saving pharmaceuticals by air freight.

Cathay Pacific Cargo, was the first Hong Kong airline to be awarded IATA CEIV Pharma Certification The thermal containers are available in five different sizes, taking up to two US pallets inside, and in six different temperature ranges, from -60?C to +25?C. They guarantee safe temperature-controlled transportation for the pharmaceutical, healthcare and medical sectors.

WORLDWIDE – The Unisys[10] group released a new product last month that will endear them to pet owners travelling by air with their much loved companions stowed separately in the cargo hold. The Digi-Pet Service system includes a two way monitor so owners can not only see what their little darlings are up to, but talk directly to them if they need a soothing voice. Smart sensors attached to the pet’s kennel or carry case monitor and transmit key metrics such as temperature, oxygen levels, vibration and light, and automatically alert the pet owner and airline staff if any factors require action.

Pet owners can also subscribe to live video streaming, photos and voice exchanges so that they can see and talk to their pet via an app on their smart phone or tablet. This latest product is part of the company’s Digistics(TM) suite of innovative digital logistics solutions for air cargo carriers. The 20 global carriers that subscribe to Unisys Digistics transport more than 180,000 animals annually.

In related news United Airlines[11] has suspended the carrying of pets aboard its aircraft after an incident in which a dog died and other pets were shipped to wrong destinations. The company says it will not start to carry pets again until a full investigation has been completed which it estimates will be in early May. UK – A teenager from Warwickshire has won the top prize in a national careers competition, hosted by the Freight Transport Association (FTA[12]) on its stand at the Skills Show 2017 and run in partnership with careers campaign Think Logistics[13].

Ben Bardell won an iPad for achieving the highest score in the Think Logistics quiz, the campaign which aims to encourage more young people to consider careers in the logistics sector. Ben, who is a Year 11 student at the St Thomas More Catholic School in Nuneaton, beat off several hundred other entrants to scoop the top prize. The Think Logistics quiz posed a variety of questions about the contribution made by the logistics industry to the UK economy and tested competitors’ knowledge of key transport facts and figures.

The prize was donated by Career Ready[14], the charity which works to prepare young people for employment. Ben was presented with his iPad on behalf of Think Logistics by Charlotte Wright, West Midlands Regional Manager for Career Ready. UK – Scala[15], the Yorkshire based provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector, says it envisages a doubling of the company’s turnover by next year as it plots a package of international growth plans.

The business has reported a strong financial year, increasing its turnover by 40% year-on-year, and aims to double its turnover again to GBP5million within the next three years. Scala has invested heavily in its workforce over the past 12 months, growing its management team fourfold and plan to open an office in China. Scala also intends to expand its management team further in the next two years with the hire of two additional directors.

This will enable the company to extend its portfolio from logistics and supply chain services to include procurement consultancy, a Demand Driven programme, a ‘Cost to Serve’ service, whilst also developing its Benchmarking programme. CANADA – The Government of Canada is testing aqua-tools’[16] B-QUA ballast water sampling and monitoring kit for possible use in the Canadian ballast water surveillance programme. The programme is being led a research scientist from Fisheries and Oceans Canada[17] out of the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, in Burlington, Ontario.

The aqua-tools equipment was one of the methods employed in sampling the ship’s ballast water during 28 trials of paired sampling devices. These trials, believed to be the first time that multiple sampling devices had been tested under real operational conditions, compared the capability of various sampling and analysis tools for measuring organisms of various sizes, zooplankton, phytoplankton and bacteria. The Canadian laboratory then carried out additional research using a variety of techniques to better understand the capabilities of different tools, visiting multiple ships with treatment systems and taking samples of treated ballast water.

The B-QUA test kit uses aqua-tools’ new generation Adenosine Tri-phosphates (ATP 2G(TM)) monitoring technique.

First generation ATPs are normally measured using bioluminescence methods, but these are ineffective for water with high saline concentrations, such as seawater, so can be unreliable when used for testing the efficacy of ships’ ballast water treatment systems.

The Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences now plans to carry out ballast water sampling and testing of up to 20 ships this year to assess which tool or tools might provide the best rapid assessment of ballast water compliance.

Snippets of Logistics NewsSnippets of Logistics News


  1. ^ earlier this month (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  2. ^ Samskip (www.samskip.com)
  3. ^ TMA Logistics (www.tmalogistics.nl)
  4. ^ Hutchison Ports (hutchisonports.com)
  5. ^ Port of Amsterdam (www.portofamsterdam.com)
  6. ^ ERFA (www.erfarail.eu)
  7. ^ RHA (www.rha.uk.net)
  8. ^ Cathay Pacific Cargo (www.cathaypacificcargo.com)
  9. ^ va-Q-tec (www.va-q-tec.com)
  10. ^ Unisys (www.unisys.com)
  11. ^ United Airlines (www.united.com)
  12. ^ FTA (www.fta.co.uk)
  13. ^ Think Logistics (www.think-logistics.co.uk)
  14. ^ Career Ready (careerready.org.uk)
  15. ^ Scala (www.scalagroup.co.uk)
  16. ^ aqua-tools’ (www.aqua-tools.com)
  17. ^ Fisheries and Oceans Canada (www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca)

Tackling cargo misdeclaration – a first line of defence against container fires

Stories describing danger at sea change with the times. An increasingly common narrative today is the danger posed by fire that originates with cargo. Cargo fires represent potentially catastrophic risks.

The crew is in great danger when a fire breaks out on their ship and every unsuccessful attempt to quickly extinguish the fire increases the risk of serious harm to people, the environment and property. Tackling fires is an even greater challenge on larger container ships, which carry large quantities of cargo, some of it hazardous. In this Gard Insight we will look at the increasing likelihood and severity of container fires originating from the cargo itself.

In Gard’s experience, most container fires are associated with cargo misdeclaration, which therefore becomes a first line of defence against the risk of fire. However, just as with tackling the fire itself, tackling misdeclaration is a significant industry challenge. Hazardous cargo

To understand the risk of container fires we need to consider two things – the likelihood of harm and the severity of that harm. Since, as we will see, most container fires involve hazardous cargoes, it is worth considering the quantity of dangerous goods transported by container. Thousands of products are listed in the IMDG Code, which governs the carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form, many of which are containerised.

According to an International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) submission to the IMO in July 2017 the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) calculated there were approximately 180 million TEU movements in 2016. In their submission ICHCA assumed 60% equates to actual Container Transport Units, 50% of which are laden, and of which 10% contain declared dangerous goods. So ICHCA approximates that around 5.4 million containers annually are packed with dangerous goods.

What is more difficult to estimate is the amount of dangerous cargo which is not declared or is misdeclared. Container fires are increasingly likely Serious container fires are not new and Gard’s Guidance on Freight Containers lists numerous historical cases going back to 1996.

However, one data subscription source suggests that the number has been increasing more rapidly in the last decade, which in part reflects the increasing number of containers transported.

Tackling cargo misdeclaration – a first line of defence against container fires

Number of significant container fires (originating in cargo) 2007-17 However, even this data appears to exclude a number of significant cases that are known to insurers. For example, Gard is aware of around 10 significant container fires in 2015, four more than the number in the graph.

There are also many cases not in the public eye and Gard has learned that one organization, collecting data on behalf of certain container lines, recorded over 20 container fires in 2017. Fortunately, it appears most of these fires were quickly contained by the crew. Extrapolating that figure for all container lines suggests that fires may be occurring on a weekly basis.

Increased severity of container fires The highest severity of harm from any fire is loss of life and we know from the flag state investigation into one very public container cargo fire in 2012 that several crew members died and others were injured when an explosion occurred in the early stages of fire-fighting. Crew fatality and injury have occurred already this year in another very public case.

In a review of recent significant container fire cases where Gard had an involvement, one crewmember suffered fatal injuries due to a secondary explosion involving calcium hypochlorite. Container fires also have an environmental impact, not least from all the waste generated from burnt and wet material. The extreme heat generated during many hold fires often means that salvors resort to flooding the cargo spaces with water to contain and extinguish the fire.

The 2012 case mentioned above involved disposal of some 8,000 m/t of scrap, 350 m/t of hazardous waste and 30,000 cubic metres of contaminated fire-fighting water. Disposing of waste is also becoming increasingly costly. In a recent Gard case the disposal in Europe of some 130 containers and 5,000 cubic metres of fire-fighting water cost nearly USD 10 million.

Added to the cost of the damage to the vessel, loss of earnings, cargo damage, salvage and General Average expenditure, it is not difficult to see why the 2012 case mentioned above is the subject of ongoing litigation involving hundreds of millions of dollars and countless law firms. That vessel was carrying less than 5,000 TEU. We now have over 21,000 TEU capacity ships and a similar case today would escalate costs and losses towards USD 1 billion.

Gard insured the charterers in the majority of recent cases, and vessel sharing and slot charter arrangements are an important feature of the liner trade in the context of fires, as will be explained further below. It is worth mentioning that, if cargo in a charterer’s box is proven to have caused the fire they face the prospect of unlimited liability for the owners’ claim for vessel damage and related losses. Whenever an incident occurs all the lines are keen to establish whether their box was the ignition source and they will all know that the high cost of these incidents often cannot be passed onto a shipper having no assets or assets which cannot be reached.

The predominant cause – cargo misdeclaration Gard has been involved in 13 container cargo fire cases of some significance in the four years 2014-2017, most of which as insurers for charterers. A “dirty dozen” of those are associated with cargo being misdeclared.

Six cases involved calcium hypochlorite variously misdeclared as “organic surface”; “calcium chloride”; “disinfectant”and “whitening agent”. Although a very common chemical product used for water purification, calcium hypochlorite can be very hazardous because it naturally decomposes and emits heat during decomposition. If that process is accelerated by poor packaging or stuffing that does not allow heat to escape, or from external heat sources, the rate of decomposition increases and if this becomes violent an explosion can occur.

Recognizing the hazards of calcium hypochlorite the International Group of P&I Clubs and the shipping line members of CINS (Cargo Incident Notification System) jointly issue guidelines that can essentially be considered “IMDG Code plus precautions”. This contrasts with the attitude of some shippers. An internet search reveals one saying that “No shipping company accepts calcium hypochlorite in dry container, because they believe this is dangerous chemicals for dry container.

For the above reason, to ship it in dry container, we must cover the name on the B/L, we show another name like: calcium hydroxide, calcium Chloride, etc. on the B/L. in this way, we can ship it in dry container”. Even if this is not a genuine statement from an actual shipper it is perhaps symptomatic. In one Gard calcium hypochlorite case, unaffected containers booked for a different shipper and container line to those for the container that caused the fire, were identified as suspect from the manifest.

Upon inspection they too were found to contain misdeclared calcium hypochlorite. This shows that multiple misdeclarations may exist on larger container vessels, increasing the likelihood of just one causing a fire. Other misdeclarations leading to fires in Gard cases involved charcoal (one was declared as “tablets for water pipes”), lithium ion batteries (declared as “mobile phone accessories”), and paints and aerosols.

In most Gard’s cases the containers were loaded in Asia, fires were predominantly hold fires and all vessels were fortunately relatively close to assistance that became necessary from salvors/shore services. The challenges ahead With more than a quarter of incidents reported to CINS by its liner members involving misdeclaration, the scale of the challenge faced by the shipping industry is as colossal as todays mega container ships.

Moreover, there is industry recognition that SOLAS amendments for fire-fighting arrangements have not kept pace with increases in ship size. The risk of fire due to misdeclaration of dangerous cargo is therefore compounded by the difficulty of fighting fires on larger vessels. Additional Class Notations for fire-fighting have only addressed deck fires and many organisations, including IUMI, have called into question the adequacy of fixed CO2 and water-based firefighting systems in containership holds.

Such concerns are not surprising given the presence of air pockets, extreme heat and significant dangers to crew who may not know what is actually in boxes in the vicinity of the fire. Banning the carriage of hazardous products, such as calcium hypochlorite, is probably not a long term solution. There is simply too high a demand for the product – the IG/CINS guidelines refer to an estimated global production of 400,000 tonnes a year.

Outright bans may inadvertently “encourage” misdeclaration because of fewer carriers and higher costs. The sheer volume of bookings now being handled by fewer larger carriers, who naturally want to make the booking process quicker and easier for customers, means that IT tools are vital to help combat misdeclaration. Some carriers have developed sophisticated software that scan bookings and one carrier recently reported a staggering 1,250 potential hits a day.

The reality, however, is that all lines need to have similar high standards, as they are sharing space and rogue shippers will always find the weakest link. The illustration below shows this. When Line A, using sophisticated software, rejects a booking of calcium hypochlorite, misdeclared as “water tablets” and Line B, using spot checks, accepts the booking, through space sharing agreements the container ends upon Line A’s ship despite the initial rejection.

Tackling misdeclaration at an industry level Shipping companies who invest in sophisticated software to tackle misdeclaration, as well as enhanced fire-fighting equipment and well drilled crews will tilt the law of averages on their side in the event of a fire. However, as the old proverb says “fire is never a gentle master” and until and unless shippers are deterred from misdeclaration we will continue to see serious harm to people, the environment and property.

One reason shippers are able to ship misdeclared cargo today is a lack of policing by the authorities. The Tianjin explosion in 2015 was blamed on illegally stored hazardous materials. More than 165 people were killed and 49 reportedly jailed – the government had good reason to be tough.

But being reactive is one thing and prosecuting one rogue shipper of one misdeclared container will inevitably raise cost concerns. Shipping lines fear sharing information on rogue shippers as it may expose them to anti-competition legislation. The same may make it difficult for lines to collaborate on addressing the cost differential for shipping hazardous cargo compared to benign cargo.

In terms of proactive measures, how many states are undertaking inspection programmes on dangerous goods as required by SOLAS? A 2017 IMO submission by the ICHCA calculated, based on reports that member states had submitted to the IMO, that inspections represented less than four out of every 100,000 containers moved and we only talk here about inspections on declared dangerous goods. Ships are often the subject of numerous concentrated inspection campaigns – can the same be said of shippers who manufacture and/or export hazardous cargo?

What role should terminals play to try and prevent that cargo from being shipped if misdeclared? When serious fires do occur, do we always see a flag state investigation report? There are more questions than answers.

Conclusion There are 451 ultra-large containerships over 10,000 TEU operating today, with another 129 on order for delivery into 2020. A global consultancy firm recently predicted a 50,000 TEU ship by 2067 and global thirst for everyday products is relentless.

OECD figures have estimated one billion TEU in transit by 2030, with Asia leading the increase in volume. Today over 400 million lithium ion batteries and over 15 billion aerosols are said to be produced annually. All these staggering numbers suggest that the future container fire risk may be worse than it is today.

Tackling cargo misdeclaration may well be a first line of defence. However, the industry needs to unite to plug the gaps that exist in that line today. All stakeholders have a role to play.

On the one hand ships and crews deserve tougher policing of shippers by states.

On the other, the desire to avoid carrying unsafe cargo should always be greater than the desire to carry, which makes the checks and balances at the booking stage important.

Perhaps Blockchain technology will have a future role to play in product verification, but until then we are bound to see many more misdeclarations – and probably therefore container fires.
Source: Gard (http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/25186996/tackling-cargo-misdeclaration-a-first-line-of-defence-against-container-fires)

Illegal Migrant Situation Persists as Road Haulage Truck Driver Targeted

Stowaways Enter Lorry a Full 170 Miles from Calais FRANCE – With British eyes firmly on Brexit, particularly those with interests in the freight transport industry, there has been little mention of the current migrant situation as discussions on the Irish border vacillate on a daily basis. Since the final demise[1] of the infamous Jungle camp outside Calais (after an abortive attempt[2] 7 year’s previously) there has been only sporadic media interest in the problem, but an incident involving a UK bound truck in the past week reported by the Road Haulage Association (RHA[3]), taken together with various others since the turn of the year, demonstrate clearly that the problem still exists.

Although for many migrants the ongoing Brexit negotiations, together with the shrunken pound means that travelling to the UK is nowhere near as attractive as in previous years, so there are those hardened cases who still persist in their attempts to reach what they obviously consider the Promised Land. The cost to drivers unwittingly carrying migrants can be extreme financial penalties, whilst encountering the most violent leads to injuries and even death[4].

The latest case which was reported to the RHA demonstrates that, despite the efforts of French Police and military, and British Border Control Agents, there are now ever wider areas in France from which the fugitives can be expected to operate. The latest report says that two migrants attempting to illegally enter Britain actually broke into a UK bound truck a full three hours’ drive from Calais, 170 miles down the road in Reims. The men were apprehended at the Channel port by customs officers.

This report comes shortly after another British trucker stated to the media that lorries in the Caen region, along the Normandy coastline were also being targeted, prompting RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett, to comment: “Despite the millions of pounds UK taxpayers have forked out on security in France, truckers are still running a dangerous gauntlet of migrants desperate to reach the UK. Lorry drivers are fearful every time they cross the Channel and we advise them not to stop within 150 miles of Calais, but it’s clear that this problem is no longer confined to port areas.

Traffickers are targeting UK lorries in towns and cities further afield, so if it’s Reims today where will it be tomorrow?” At the beginning of February a clash between Afghan and Eritrean gangs saw over fifty people injured, causing the drafting in of extra police and causing a rethink of support services for the homeless. The incident sparked violent attacks from France’s political right wing, ironically proposing closer border controls to its EU neighbours just as the countries Brexit negotiators were insisting the UK must maintain open borders to immigrants travelling from Europe.

Last month saw Philippe Mignonet, Calais Deputy Mayor tell the BBC that a hard border would trigger ’15 mile queues and make it easier for illegals to enter Britain’.

As politicians pat themselves on the back for the progress they claim they have made in the current negotiations let us hope that the plight of both the disenfranchised migrants, and the commercial drivers they target, are uppermost in their collective minds.

Illegal Migrant Situation Persists as Road Haulage Truck Driver TargetedIllegal Migrant Situation Persists as Road Haulage Truck Driver Targeted


  1. ^ final demise (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  2. ^ abortive attempt (www.handyshippingguide.com)
  3. ^ RHA (www.rha.uk.net)
  4. ^ even death (www.handyshippingguide.com)

1 2 3 89