When you are transporting goods, the last thing that you need is shipping containers coming loose and falling off the vehicle that is carrying them.
This can result in loss of goods and constitutes a major safety hazard.
In 2009, a ship called the Pacific Adventurer lost thirty-one shipping containers that were not properly secured. As they tumbled overboard, they punctured the vessel’s fuel oil bunker tanks, causing them to leak two hundred and seventy tonnes of oil into the ocean.
This had a devastating affect upon the environment and cost the company dearly, demonstrating the potential consequences of failing to adequately fasten shipping containers.
How do you ensure that containers are secured in the right way? Read on and find out.
The majority of shipping containers have corner castings that are designed in a manner that enables them to interlock with twist locks.
The National Transport Commission advises that the containers should be secured using these locks when they are transported.
TIE DOWN METHODS
The container must be positioned on timber dunnage, a timber deck, friction matting or rubber pads.
It is unsafe to place containers on coaming rails or metal loading decks.
When restraining empty containers that weigh 2.7 tonnes or below, transport chains should be a minimum of 8 millimetres in diameter. They should be tensioned with dogs or turnbuckles to a minimum of 1000 kilograms.
Lashing equipment and tie rails should not be used to secure fully-laden freight containers onto general freight vehicles because they are not strong enough to keep them in place.
MAINTAIN FASTENING EQUIPMENT
According to Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan, it is important for companies to frequently maintain the equipment that they use to secure shipping containers because unsecured containers are a danger to the environment, property and human life.
If equipment is damaged or in poor condition, it can result in containers coming loose.
There is little point in following the correct procedure to secure a container if you are using faulty fastenings to do it.
THIRD PARTY INSPECTION
It is advisable to pay close attention to the state of all equipment that is used for securing containers, as there are a variety of different issues that can affect the effectiveness of fastenings.
Sometimes factors can come into play that are somewhat unusual in their nature, for example, in September 2013, a truck driver noticed that a bird had made a nest in a shipping container’s twist lock.
It is therefore necessary to keep your eyes peeled for any anomalies that could cause fastenings to become less secure.
After the Pacific Adventurer lost its containers, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau pointed out that no third party had inspected the equipment that was used to secure them.
Inspections of this nature are useful for picking up on anything that could potentially result in shipping containers coming loose and falling off a vehicle during transit.
Shipping containers are usually transported long distances, meaning that there is a long amount of time in which they may become loose. They are heavy enough to cause fatalities so fastening them in a way in which they are unlikely to fall off your vehicle is a necessity.