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WSC developing cargo screening programme to prevent container fires

Sri Lanka Air Force Media X-Press-Pearl_fire2.jpg
Fire rages aboard X-Press Pearl
The World Shipping Council (WSC) is spearheading an initiative to develop a software tool to spot mis-declared container cargoes, which can lead to fatal shipboard fires.

The WSC noted that despite the efforts of the industry and governments mis-declared or undeclared dangerous cargoes continued to cause fires that lead to the deaths ship’s crew and landside workers.

According to the 2023 Allianz Safety and Shipping Review, there have been 64 reported fires on containerships in the past five years, while insurer TT Club estimates a serious ship fire occurs every 60 days.

In an effort to stem the numbers of fires the WSC is developing a shared industry process to screen and inspect cargoes.

Named the Cargo Safety Program, the initiative will rely on a digital solution comprising a Common Screening Tool, Verified Shipper Database, and a Database of Approved Container Inspection Companies.

The WSC has launched a Request for Proposal for a third party to develop the digital tools required and manage the programme.

“A common industry approach to cargo safety will create a safer working environment not only for ship crews, but for everyone involved in inland transport or working in ports and terminals, as well as for the communities around us. For shippers, it will make ocean transport more efficient and dependable, by stopping dangerous shipments that can disrupt the supply chain,” said John Butler, President & CEO of the WSC.