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Guidelines on the carriage of charcoal in containers

Certain cargoes have self-heating properties which can lead to spontaneous combustion and fires that threaten harm to people, property and the environment. Charcoal and other forms of carbon are amongst such cargoes and they require certain preparations before they can be shipped safely.

When carried in containers it is also essential that the cargo is properly declared by the shipper so that the carrier can stow and carry it safely. Gard’s experience from a number of container fire incidents is that some of these cargoes have not been properly prepared or declared by shippers in accordance with the IMDG Code. Please see our Alerts on fire risks associated with charcoal loaded at Walvis Bay, Namibia (here), misedeclared charcoal products in China (here) and carriage of charcoal in containers (here).

Fighting fires on containerships is particularly challenging, which makes it all the more important to address the risks before and at the time of shipment.

It is in this context that the the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) and the International Group of P&I Clubs have published a joint set of detailed guidelines on the carriage of charcoal and carbon in containers.

With the global production of wood charcoal and carbon reaching some 50 million tonnes annually, the practices set out in the Guidelines are intended both to improve safety during the carriage of these products, and to ensure that it is properly declared, packaged and carried.

The transport of charcoal and carbon must be undertaken in compliance with the requirements set out in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code). The new Guidelines include selected provisions from the IMDG Code, together with additional precautions to enhance its safe carriage.

Along with other International Group Clubs, Gard is an Advisory Member of CINS and is pleased to see that many of our Members and clients are also members of CINS. We encourage other container line members and clients to enquire about CINS membership, the main purpose of which is to highlight and address risks posed by certain cargoes and/or packing failures in order to improve safety in the liner shipping industry.
Source: GARD (http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/24233357/guidelines-on-the-carriage-of-charcoal-in-containers)

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