5 Best Practices for Transporting Containers Safely By Sea
Guest Post by Kevin Hill
If yes, then you must be aware of the various challenges that come with transporting the containers safely.
You can adopt the following practices in order to minimize the difficulties and dangers to container-ships, their crew, and all the people involved throughout the transport.
Stuffing refers to the practice of loading cargo into freight containers.
It is important to check the weight of the material that has to be stuffed and the weight of the container after stuffing. Use reliable and calibrated industrial weighing scales for the same.
Some scales you can employ for this purpose include conveyor scales, counting scales, shipping scales, floor scales, forklift scales, and post scales.
2. Container Inspection
It is critical to check the container as soon as it arrives. Some of the factors you need to inspect include:
- Check for cleanliness of the container. Examine if the container is weatherproof, odor-free, if it’s leaking, or if the doors are locked properly to prevent entry of dust or ambient elements.
- Check if the container is fitted with cargo restraint devices and whether they are in good condition or not.
- Inspect its physical condition. Check if the container has been repaired in the past and if it was, does the repair maintain the original strength, quality, and weather-proof integrity.
- Are there any holes on the sides or do the sides have fractured welds? Is the container distorted in shape? Check if the markings, destinations, and precautions of the previous cargoes have been removed.
- Check the weight of the container using truck scales or belt scales once all the inspections are done.
3. Stowage of Containers
Stowing is when you place or arrange containers compactly and put them safely in place so they can endure the sea voyage without getting damaged in any way.
Consider the characteristics and properties of the containers while stowing. At the same time, consider the compatibility of the commodity with other cargo in the same container.
Segregate hazardous materials and ensure that compatibility with other hazardous commodities is in compliance with general and sometimes specific segregation requirements.
Take necessary measures while stowing dry and wet cargo.
Never stow the dry goods with the wet ones. Either keep them over the wet goods or stow them on a raised platform, a level above the wet goods, as an added precaution.
You must be careful while stowing heavy and light cargo as well.
Improper stowing of heavy and light cargo together may cause crushing and damage to contents. Stow heavy packages on the bottom or floor of the container with lighter goods on top.
If you stow the containers loosely, chafing damage may occur due to the motions or vibrations of the ocean vessel.
4. Container Lashing
Container lashing helps in preventing container movement while the ship is on the move or when it faces rough weather conditions.
You can lash a number of units together into one block. If there are independent lashings, secure them properly to the strong points of the ship structure and fittings.
Ensure that all the lashings are short and taut for a better hold.
5. Safety and Securing
Ensure that all containers are secured properly.
There should be no void spaces or loose packages on the top. Avoid direct pressure on doors and metal-to-metal contact as it causes a slippery surface. Avoid overloading and make sure you understand the different safety measures required by the ocean transport. Secure the doors, lock, and seal them. Note the seal numbers for insertion on the bill of lading. Check the final weight of the containers using calibrated and certified scales.
Never underestimate the importance of weighing in this entire process. At the same time, it is crucial to keep accurate and detailed documentation of the goods that you are shipping. It helps in ensuring that there are no discrepancies about the condition or the number of items you shipped.
Kevin Hill heads up the marketing efforts and provides technical expertise to the sales and service teams at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, California.
He enjoys everything mechanical and electronic, computers, the internet, and spending time with family.
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