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MSC commences new Asia services

MSC announced the launch of its new service, Britannia, which will enhance port connections via a unique corridor from China and Vietnam to Liverpool, UK.

This new loop offers access to the port of Vung Tau, Vietnam, establishing a direct service to Liverpool, UK, and MSC’s hubs in Rotterdam, Netherlands; Antwerp, Belgium; and Hamburg, Germany. It also connects to destinations in Scandinavia and the Baltics, thereby expanding the company’s coverage from China and Vietnam to the UK and Northwest Continent.

The first sailing will be the vessel MSC DENISSE X on 1 July, voyage number QB427W.

The full rotation is as follows:

Shanghai, China > Ningbo, China > Yantian, China > Vung Tau, Vietnam > Liverpool, UK > Rotterdam, Netherlands > Antwerp, Belgium > Hamburg, Germany > London Gateway, UK > Singapore, Singapore >Shanghai, China

Furthermore, MSC announced the launch of an additional new weekly service, Carioca, connecting Asia with the East Coast of South America.

This service will enhance coverage and increase connectivity and frequency with Asia on this trade route, complementing MSC’s existing Ipanema and Santana services.

Specifically, the Carioca service will:

– Extend port coverage by adding calls to Itapoa and Rio de Janeiro
– Improve connections to Navegantes, Vitoria, and the River Plate region via Rio de Janeiro
– Increase sailing frequency from Korea and China to South Brazil (Santos and Paranagua)

The full rotation will be as follows:

Busan, South Korea > Shanghai, China > Ningbo, China > Shekou, China > Singapore, Singapore > Rio de Janeiro, Brazil >Paranagua, Brazil > Itapoa, Brazil > Santos, Brazil > Itaguai, Brazil > Colombo, Sri Lanka > Singapore, Singapore > Busan, South Korea

The inaugural sailing is scheduled to depart from Busan on 19 July, with MSC YOKOHAMA, voyage QI429A.

Source: Container News


Los Angeles Harbor Commission approves US$2.6 billion budget

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved a US$2.6 billion budget for the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department for the fiscal year 2024/25.

“This year’s budget takes a prudent approach that carefully balances revenues and expenses and sets up the Port well for the future. Most importantly, the plan will allow us to stay the course and follow through on many strategic priorities and industry-leading initiatives in the coming year,” stated Lucille Roybal-Allard, president of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission.

This revenue and spending plan aligns with the Port of Los Angeles’ priorities, which include community investment, decarbonizing port-related operations, workforce development, and modernizing cargo infrastructure.

With steady cargo volumes over the past nine months, the FY 2024/25 budget anticipates handling 9.1 million TEUs, marking a modest 2% increase from the previous fiscal year’s budget.

This cargo increase is expected to generate a 4.9% rise in operating revenues for FY 2024/25, projected at US$684.7 million, with shipping services contributing approximately 75% of this revenue.

“With a healthy economy, continued consumer spending and a strong U.S. labour market, we are optimistic about cargo volumes for the next fiscal year. We’ve prepared a budget that leaves room for unanticipated changes in the global trade market or other uncertainties that may arise,” stated Gene Seroka, port executive director.

Operating expenses for FY 2024/25 are projected at US$403.7 million, reflecting an 8.4% increase over the previous fiscal year’s budget, driven largely by increased staffing needs and the filling of open positions at the Harbor Department.

The budget allocates US$257.7 million to the Port’s capital improvement program (CIP), a 19% increase from the previous fiscal year.

Significant CIP allocations include US$44.3 million for the reconfiguration of the State Route 47/Vincent Thomas Bridge & Front Street/Harbor Boulevard Interchange; US$15.3 million for the Zero-Emission Port Electrification and Operation program; US$14.2 million for restoration and improvements at the Pasha Terminal; and US$12.5 million for Marine Oil Terminals Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS) projects, among other initiatives.

An additional US$28.5 million in CIP funds is earmarked for LA Waterfront public access improvements in Wilmington and San Pedro. Key projects for FY 2024/25 include Phase II of the San Pedro Waterfront Promenade and the Wilmington Waterfront Avalon Pedestrian Bridge & Promenade Gateway.

Furthermore, the CIP budget includes US$4 million for planning the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach Goods Movement Workforce Training Facility. This US$150 million facility will be the first in the U.S. dedicated to goods movement sector training, including longshore work, trucking, and warehousing. The environmental review process for this project began earlier this year.

Source: Container News


Port congestion disrupts almost half Asia-Europe sailings

Nearly half of all Asia-Europe westbound sailings have failed to depart on time as congestion escalates in Asian ports.

Linerlytica’s latest report says last week only six out of 11 Asia-North Europe sailings departed on schedule, with congestion at Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas severely disrupting the market.

The consultancy said: “While bottlenecks in the second-busiest port, Singapore, have eased, the strain has shifted to Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia. Waiting times have also risen across all main Chinese port regions, with Shanghai and Qingdao experiencing the longest delays.”

Ships have had to wait as long as five days to berth in the world’s busiest port of Shanghai, where logjams are at their highest since Covid.

S&P vessel-tracking data shows 50 containerships in Shanghai, including at anchorage. Some, like the Cosco Shipping Mexico and CMA CGM Big Sur, have been in the port since last week.

In Singapore, where authorities have temporarily reopened the shuttered Keppel Terminal to alleviate vessel queues, there are 56 boxships. The bottlenecks have caused some operators, including CMA CGM, to skip Singapore calls. That said, there is now about 380,000 teu of delayed vessels in Singapore, compared with 450,000 teu last week.

S&P also shows 51 containerships in Port Klang. Ports in south-east and north-east Asia are still the most congested, accounting for 29% and 23% of vessel queues worldwide.

The situation is such that management at Taiwanese liner operators Evergreen, Yang Ming and Wan Hai said last week they did not foresee any short-term let-up in the congestion, and that freight rates would remain high into Q3.

EMC GM Wu Kuang Hui pointed out that wage negotiations between port workers on the US east coast were due in September, which could cause shippers to rush out goods before that in a bid to avert any industrial action.

Linerlytica notes that, overall, liner capacity utilisation remains very high, while capacity forecasts for June, with continued delays from congestion, also see reduced capacity available due to forced blankings.

The consultancy estimates that scheduled Asia-Europe capacity for June is 3% lower year on year, even with the addition of Hapag-Lloyd’s relaunched China-Germany Express (CGX) service this month, and Ellerman City Liners’ recently launched China-UK service.

Source: The LoadStar


CMA CGM updates freight rates worldwide

CMA CGM, the French carrier, has announced Freight All Kinds (FAK) rates effective from 1 July 2024, for shipments originating from North Europe, West Mediterranean, East Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Baltic regions to Australia and New Zealand.

20’ST 40’ST/HC 20’RF 40’RF/RH
North Europe to Australia* US$1,873 US$3,746 US$3,255 US$4,950
North Europe to New Zealand** US$1,735 US$3,250 US$2,975 US$4,550
Mediterranean to Australia** US$2,075 US$4,150 US$3,465 US$5,250
Mediterranean to New Zealand** US$1,775 US$3,550 US$4,525 US$7,050

These rates represent a Rate Restoration of US$525 per TEU on existing rates.

The FAK rates will apply to all types of cargo, including special equipment like In gauge and OOG, until further notice.

Furthermore, CMA CGM has notified its customers about the Peak Season Surcharge (PSS), which will be effective from 3 July 2024 (loading date) until further notice.

The surcharge will apply to shipments originating from Asia, including China, Taiwan area, Hong Kong & Macau SAR, South East Asia, South Korea & Japan, and destined to Puerto Rico & the US Virgin Islands.

This PSS will be applied to all types of cargo, with an amount of US$2,000 per container.

In addition, CMA CGM announced a new PSS effective from 1 July 2024 (loading date) until further notice. This surcharge applies to shipments originating from the Indian Subcontinent and destined for the US West Coast.

It applies to all types of cargo, with the following amounts: US$2,160 per 20′ container (all types), US$2,400 per 40’/40’HC container (all types), US$2,400 per 40’RF container, and US$3,040 per 45′ container (all types).

Also, the firm announced PSS originating from Europe to the Gambia.

CMA CGM has issued a notice to its customers regarding the implementation of Peak Season Surcharge (PSS), effective from 15 June 2024 (loading date) until further notice.

The PSS will apply to shipments originating from various regions:

Originating from North Europe (including Baltic & Scandinavia), West Mediterranean, Adriatic, North Africa, Greece, Cyprus, Malta & Syria and destined to the Gambia. This PSS will apply to dry cargo, with an amount of US$522 per container, payable with freight.

Another PSS will be applicable to shipments originating from the UK and destined for the Gambia. The cargo will be dry, with an amount of US$530 per container, payable with freight.

Additionally, a PSS will be implemented for shipments originating from Turkey, Egypt Med & Lebanon and destined to the Gambia. This PSS applies to dry cargo with an amount of US$600 per container, payable with freight.

Moreover, CMA CGM announced a new PSS from Europe to West Africa (the Gambia excepted).

CMA CGM has issued a notice to its customers regarding the implementation of Peak Season Surcharge (PSS), effective from 15 June 2024 (loading date) until further notice.

For shipments originating from North Europe (including Baltic & Scandinavia), West Mediterranean, Adriatic, North Africa, Greece, Cyprus, Malta & Syria and destined for Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo, a PSS of US$217 per container will be applied to dry cargo, payable with freight.

Another PSS will be applicable to shipments originating from the UK and destined for the same destinations mentioned above. The cargo will be dry, with a PSS amount of US$224 per container, payable with freight.

In addition, CMA CGM has communicated an update regarding the Peak Season Surcharge (PSS) to its customers, effective from 15 June 2024 (loading date) until further notice.

This update applies to shipments originating from Turkey, Egypt Med & Lebanon, involving dry cargo. The PSS amount for this category is US$400 per container, payable with freight.

Source: Container News


COSCO switches 16,000 TEU quartet to run on methanol

COSCO Shipping Lines has announced that it will switch four 16,000 TEU newbuildings to be dually fuelled with methanol, from conventional fuel.

The company said this is in line with its plan to comply with the global goal of achieving decarbonisation in 2050. As a result, the price of the newbuildings will be increased from US$620 million to US$734 million.

For reference, Clarksons’ data shows that the price of a 15,000 to 16,000 TEU methanol dual fuel container ship has reached US$191 million.

The ships, to be operated by COSCO Shipping and its subsidiary OOCL, were ordered alongside six 14,000 TEU vessels at COSCO Shipping’s affiliated shipyard, COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Yangzhou), in July 2021.

Due to the alteration in the propulsion, the capacity of each ship will be downgraded from the original 16,180 TEU to 16,108 TEU. The delivery dates for the ships have also been extended from June 2025 to December 2025 to November 2025 to June 2026.

The switch to methanol dual-fuelling means that in all, COSCO Shipping has 16 methanol dual fuelled container ships on order.

In October 2022, COSCO Shipping ordered a dozen 24,000 TEU methanol dual-fuel power container ships in Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering and Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering. These will be the largest methanol dual-fuelled boxships upon their delivery between 2026 and 2028.

In addition, COSCO Shipping is converting two 13,800 TEU ships and two 20,000 TEU ships to be methanol dual-fuelled. The company said the conversion will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 360,000 tonnes each year.

Alphaliner’s data shows that COSCO Shipping’s current fleet comprises 190 owned ships and 310 chartered ships. With a total capacity of 3.19 million TEUs, COSCO Shipping is the fourth largest operator. The company has 38 newbuildings, totalling 685,000 TEU, on order, accounting for about 21.4% of its existing fleet.

Source: Container News


Yang Ming to join league of 24,000 TEU ships

Yang Ming Marine Transport’s management has hinted that the company will enter the league of 24,000 TEU boxship owners.

Speaking at a shareholders’ meeting after releasing the Taiwanese liner operator’s 1Q 2024 results, GM Patrick Tu said: “On the Asia-Europe routes, we have a competitive advantage because of 24,000 TEU ships, but these belong to our fellow THE Alliance members and, we can’t always rely on others. We will evaluate newbuilding orders in our medium- to long-term plan.”

The other THE Alliance members are HMM and ONE; Hapag-Lloyd will leave the line-up to form Gemini Cooperation with Maersk Line in February 2025.

Linerlytica analyst Tan Hua Joo told Container News that he expected THE Alliance members to start commissioning newbuildings earnestly after Hapag-Lloyd announced its split from the alliance, leaving it with 2.5 million TEUs, rendering it the smallest container shipping alliance.

Yang Ming has no in-service ships larger than 15,000 TEUs, while ONE has six 24,000 TEU ships, HMM has a dozen 24,000 TEU ships. The Taiwanese operator is now building five 15,500 TEU ships at HD Hyundai Heavy Industries for delivery in 2026.

In March, ONE announced plans to grow its fleet to 3 million TEUs by 2030 while HMM said that in April it will expand its fleet to 1.5 million TEUs by the same year. ONE could overtake Hapag-Lloyd and narrow its gap with COSCO Shipping Lines by doing so.

Tan said: “Yang Ming will need to order a minimum of 12 ships in order to run an Asia-Europe string independently. It is inevitable as Yang Ming is the only Top 10 carrier apart from Zim that does not operate ships of this size and they cannot continue to rely on partners’ tonnage. Given current China-Taiwan tensions, they will have to look at yards in South Korea and Japan to fulfill the orders.”

Yang Ming’s net profit tripled year-on-year to US$298 million in 1Q 2024, and Tu expects 2024 to be the fifth straight profitable year for the company.

Source: Container News


Singapore congestion reaches 2 million TEUs

Congestion at the port of Singapore has reached 2 million TEUs, according to consultancy Linerlytica, which has said that equipment shortages and a lack of tonnage had conspired to raise the spectre of cargo delays and high freight rates as seen during the pandemic.

The spike in congestion at the world’s second-busiest container port in Singapore has seen carriers prolong charter agreements and order new boxes in preparation for what could be a long peak season.

“The global port congestion indicator hit the 2m TEUs mark, accounting for 6.8% of the global fleet with Singapore becoming the new congestion hotspot. The SCFI [Shanghai Containerized Freight Index] has jumped by 42% in the past month, with further gains to follow in June as carriers are adding new surcharges and rate hikes,” stated Linerlytica in its latest weekly report.

As a result of the raised congestion levels vessel operators have been forced to take action to secure their peak season positions, “after their initial hesitation to commit too far ahead if demand would falter after the summer peak season,” argued Linerlytica.

Market signals are “extremely bullish” and are reminiscent of the substantial rate increases that began in 2021 and continued throughout 2022, as the pandemic effects reached their heights, said the consultant.

During the pandemic-affected period supply chain congestion was caused by inland connections and a lack of storage in the US ports and inland terminals, causing ships to be delayed waiting for cargo handling slots, with the knock-on effect that too few empty containers were being returned to Asia for loading.

This year congestion has returned to container supply chains, with Singapore becoming the latest victim, as ships are returning to Asia out of schedule due to extended journeys around the African Cape and the blanked sailings when vessels were unavailable to meet weekly schedules.

Carriers do not have enough tonnage to handle the much longer supply chains caused by the Cape diversions, which was not a problem until demand began to increase according to one industry observer.

An increase in cargo, said Linerlytica, caused, “Berthing delays of up to seven days with the total capacity waiting to berth rising to 450,000 TEUs in recent days.”

Linerlytica added, “The severe congestion has forced some carriers to omit their planned Singapore port calls, which will exacerbate the problem at downstream ports that will have to handle additional volumes.”

These delays have resulted in vessel bunching, causing “spillover congestion” and schedule disruptions at downstream ports.

Increasing port congestion has already taken more than 400,000 TEUs of vessel capacity out of circulation in the last week alone with a further escalation to the current critical delays expected in the coming weeks as the peak season gathers pace.

Source: Container News


What is OOG or Out of Gauge Cargo?

If your cargo is extremely large or has unwieldy booms and protrusions that do not fit into standard shipping containers then you have an out of gauge cargo on hand, shortened to OOG cargo.

The list of OOG cargo is long. Some examples are very large automobiles such as luxury coaches, automobile trailers, aircraft parts, parts of wind turbines, construction machinery, abnormally large parts of machinery used in electricity generation, etc.

Also referred to as AILs (Abnormally shaped Indivisible Loads), such out of gauge cargo exceed standard container dimensions and maybe extraordinarily heavy to be accommodated in rectangular shipping containers such as a twenty feet container (TEU) or a forty feet container (FEU).

The sheer dimensions and weight of such odd-shaped and odd-sized cargo require specialized heavy-duty equipment to handle them for transport by sea.

Unless they are handled with care and precision, such cargo can easily get damaged during transport.

Cost of Transporting Out of Gauge Cargo

Transporting out of gauge cargo can be a costly affair as it involves additional costs. The out of shape cargo eats into space that could have been used for other cargo.

When an OOG cargo is loaded on the deck or below-deck of a cargo carrier, neither can another container be placed and secured to the twist-locks on the adjacent sides of it nor can containers be placed on top of the OOG cargo, as in flat racks and platform containers.

Hence, the shipping and transport companies charge extra to make up for this wasted space. Space thus wasted is also referred to as ‘lost slots’.

Planning and Execution

An out of gauge cargo, if not secured or lashed properly to their containers can damage other cargo that is kept near it. Besides, when out of gauge cargo is placed onboard a vessel, its location has to be planned carefully as there will be other cargo that will have to be unloaded before the OOG cargo.

It is not only the sea voyage of the OOG cargo that has to be planned and executed correctly but also the overland transport from the manufacturing plant or its storage location to the port of loading.

Since some out of gauge cargo may have abnormal protrusions or could be extremely heavy, the type of trailer truck to be used for moving it and the appropriate gantry crane have to be chosen carefully and arranged. Next, the road route to be taken from the OOG cargo storage location to the port, up to the loading point, has to be planned.

The route to the seaport should be planned in such a way that busy roads and peak hours are avoided. There should be enough clearance on either side of the road and on top (over bridges, arches, etc.) for the OOG cargo to pass safely and also not to damage property.


The most common options available for the transport of out of gauge cargo is flat racks or open-top containers.

A flat rack container usually has collapsible walls at either end of the container. The sides of the container are open and do not have walls.

Out of gauge cargo can be loaded in such containers from the sides or the top. When loading is from the side, it is normally done using heavy-duty forklifts.

If the cargo is loaded from the top, it is done using cranes. The cargo is usually placed in the centre of the container for optimal weight distribution.

Unlike a flat rack, the open-top container has rigid walls along its length and doors on one of its ends, like the conventional containers. However, the top is open or it may have a removable hard roof. The hard roof can be removed using a crane. Sideloading is not possible in open-top containers as they have rigid walls along the sides. Hence it is done through the door using a heavy-duty forklift or from the top using a crane.

In some type of open-top containers, the beam atop the door can be dismantled to facilitate the loading of gauge cargo through the door.

To help the movement of heavy-duty forklifts into the container some of the doors can be swivelled outward.

Once the out of gauge cargo is loaded, the cargo may be lashed to the floor of the container securely using straps. The open-top is then covered with a sturdy sheet such as tarpaulin or with the container roof.

Tarpaulin is a heavy-duty, flexible material that is commonly used to cover such containers or the out of gauge cargo. It is usually made of canvas coated with polyurethane or polyethene or other such water-proof plastics. It is quite versatile and will also conform to the shape of the out of gauge cargo. Plastic or canvas sheets can also be used to cover the container or cargo.

Most flat racks have pad-eyes or lashing-rings on their floor for lashing the out of gauge cargo or for tying the tarpaulin cover.

Flat racks and open top containers used in the transport of out of gauge cargo are mostly of the standard sizes of 20 feet and 40 feet. This is so that they fit on standard trailers and can be handled by the standard loading/unloading equipment at ports and warehouses easily.

Most of these containers have floors made of hardwood.

Flat Rack Containers

Flat racks are normally found in lengths of 40 feet and 20 feet. Out of gauge cargo can be loaded on to them from the sides using heavy-duty forklifts or placed on the floor from the top using a crane. They are therefore suitable for cargo such as abnormally-shaped machinery, boats, long tubular structures, etc.

A typical 40 feet flat rack container has dimensions of 40’ x 8’ x 8’ 6” (height of the end walls) and they carry a payload of approximately 25 tons. When the cargo is very long or too broad and does not fit on a single flat rack, two or more than two flat racks are connected to hold the cargo.

A 20 feet flat rack container has dimensions of 20’ x 8’ x 8’ 6” (height of the end walls) and they carry a payload of approximately 22 tons.

One advantage of flat rack containers is that empty flat racks can be stacked one on top of the other during storage to save space.

Open Top Containers

Open top containers also come in sizes of 40 feet and 20 feet, though custom-made containers are also available for special cargo. In such containers, cargo is usually loaded from the top using a crane or through the door using a heavy-duty forklift.

A 40 feet open top container has dimensions of 40’ x 8’ x 8’ 6”. These containers can carry a weight of up to 26 tons.

A 20 feet open top has dimensions of 20’ x 8’ x 8’ 6” (height of the end walls) and they carry a payload of approximately 28 tons.

The dimensions and payload capacity change between different makes of containers and container series.

Flatbeds or Platform Containers

Flatbeds or platform containers are also used to transport out of gauge cargo. As the name implies, they do not have any walls or a roof and hence the only restriction to follow is the weight of the OOG cargo.

A 20 feet flatbed with a floor-length of 19.88 feet has a payload of 31 tons. 40 feet flatbeds come in lengths of 39.99 feet each, with a payload capacity of 39 tons.

Like flat rack containers, flatbed containers can also be stacked one on top of the other during storage or transport of empties.


Why is the payload capacity between 20 feet and 40 feet containers disproportionate? If a 20 feet open top container can hold 28 tons, shouldn’t the 40 feet hold 56 tons?

This anomaly in payload between the two sizes of containers is because of the container design and weight restrictions of these designs. Carrying excess weight than what is prescribed by the container manufacturer can result in “container sagging’.

The container can crack under the excess weight causing damage to the cargo and other accidents.

Different countries may have different limits on container payloads. Since some out of gauge cargo weigh more than the prescribed limit, it is often disassembled and transported as parts and then later reassembled after reaching its destination.

Most of the containers that are used for carrying cargo have Safety Approval Plates in accordance with the CSC 1972 (Convention for Safe Containers 1972). This plate that is fixed on the container shows all the details of the container design and most importantly its gross weight. The gross weight is shown in both kilograms as well as pounds.

Gross weight is the total weight of the container and the payload it can carry. According to the CSC 1972, containers should undergo inspection at the container depot by certified inspectors within 5 years of the date of its manufacture and after that, once every 30 months to ascertain and certify their sea and road-worthiness.

Convention for Safe Containers 1972 (CSC 1972)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations (UN) jointly promulgated a set of procedures for the handling of containers to ensure human safety during the transport of such containers. It set uniform international safety regulations to avoid confusion caused by the various regulations of different countries.

While the CSC 1972 applies to most transport containers, it, however, covers only containers of a prescribed minimum size. Containers that are covered under the CSC 1972 should be fitted with the Safety Approval Plate showing all the technical data pertaining to the container and its gross weight.

Over the last few decades, various amendments have been introduced to the original set of rules of CSC 1972 to incorporate additional safety and security measures.

Types of Cargo

Carriers transport cargo packed in containers, as dry bulk (mineral ores, grains, etc.), break-bulk (out of gauge cargo, oil drums, etc.), liquid bulk (crude oil, edible oil, etc.), and RO-RO or ROLL-ON/ROLL-OFF (normally automobiles that are driven into the carrier’s hold for transport and driven out of it upon reaching the destination).

The dimensions or weight of some out of gauge cargo may exceed the limits that normal equipment such as flat racks, open tops, or platform containers can handle.

In such cases, it is sometimes secured to the vessel directly, after taking into consideration the safety of the cargo, the vessel, and other cargo that are kept near the OOG cargo.

Monitoring Out of Gauge Cargo Onboard Ships

The deck officers of a cargo vessel are normally in charge of overseeing the loading and unloading of cargo. They work according to a loading/unloading plan which is prepared carefully. Slots to be left vacant adjacent to the out of gauge cargo must be planned.

For below-deck storage, the hatch cover clearance must be considered to avoid any damage to the cargo or the vessel. An even load onboard the vessel and an even discharge plan prevent the listing of the vessel especially when very heavy out of gauge cargo is present onboard the ship.

Good knowledge of the ballast operations and associated instruments help deck officers in their job. They have to ensure that OOG cargo is fixed to the twist-locks and lashed properly to the deck.

Rough seas can often cause these to come loose and therefore the deck officers must conduct periodic supervision during the sailing.

Out of Gauge Rate

Shipping companies usually require the following information from the shipper to provide them with a rate for transport of the out of gauge cargo.

  • Description of the out of gauge cargo.
  • Dimensions (longest length x broadest width x tallest height).
  • Weight of the OOG cargo in kilograms.
  • Point of loading.
  • Point of discharge.
  • Photos or drawings (front, side, and top views) showing the centre of gravity.
  • Lifting points of the OOG cargo.
  • Special instructions, if any.

Transferring and transporting out of gauge cargo requires a team of experts who can plan and execute the handling and transport of such cargo from its point of origin to the destination.

Most leading shipping and transport companies have separate teams to handle OOG cargo consignments.

Source: Marine Insight


Damaged Shipping Containers – Causes And Types

The modern – day shipping container is undoubtedly one of the most useful inventions of our time. From the days of hand-loading and unloading cargo boxes and items of different sizes and shapes, we have come a long way. From ordinary corrugated steel containers of the 1950s – 70s, today, we use containers made of high-quality Corten steel.

These heavy-duty containers are tough enough to withstand the knocks and bumps while being moved from one location to another by the different modes of transport – rail, truck, or ship. They can also withstand harsh weather conditions and are corrosion-resistant. They provide safety and security to the products within.

A well-maintained shipping container is watertight as well as airtight. These qualities make them ideal for transporting goods by sea, especially perishable goods.

But however tough they may be and as nature dictates, all elements are subject to ‘wear and tear and the efflux of time’.

Now, the question is, ‘Are such tough shipping containers prone to damage?’.

The simple answer is yes; shipping containers may get damaged when they are handled carelessly or due to natural disasters.

They may be damaged in the following situations:

  • While in storage at the container yard
  • During the handling and movement of the empty container
  • While loading cargo at the shipper’s premises
  • During the movement of the laden container by overland transport
  • While sailing onboard a ship
  • Unloading of the container at the port
  • While unloading cargo at the consignee’s premises
  • Returning the empty container

Causes of Container Damage

Careless Handling

A multimodal container is normally transported from one location to another by overland transport, such as rail or road, before it reaches the quayside for loading onboard a ship. In the process, it is lifted and moved several times, changing its position. Unless handled carefully, the container can get damaged easily.

Careless or inexperienced MHE operators can cause containers to hit against each other and result in extensive damage.

Heavy-duty cranes and forklifts have to be used carefully to avoid collisions with parked containers. Similarly, when containers, either laden or unladen, are not stacked properly, it can cause them to shift and collapse, causing damage to adjacent containers or property.

Lack of Training

Pallets have to be loaded correctly. Overloading of cargo or uneven weight distribution can cause it to topple over and, in turn, upset the container balance.

Loading and unloading staff have to ensure that pallets are stacked evenly and on a level surface. Overloading of cargo inside a container can cause the floorboard to sag and eventually crack.

Similarly, uneven weight distribution within a container can damage the container floor or cause it to topple from the trailer bed. In many cases, poor container yard conditions are also to blame for container damage.

Improper locking of the container to the trailer bed is a major cause of accidents while being transported over land. Besides ensuring that the container truck and trailer bed are in good condition, the driver of the truck has to ensure that the twist locks are engaged properly and the container secured. Reckless driving of container trucks can result in serious accidents.

During sailing, rough seas and harsh and inclement weather conditions may cause containers to break out of their lashings and get washed away into the sea. This may be the case, especially when a container is not secured properly onto the ship’s deck.

Some of them sink quickly to the ocean floor, while others may float for some time before sinking to the bottom. Containers that get knocked around on the deck or the ship’s hold can cause extensive damage to the ship as well as other containers on board, besides the goods inside getting damaged.

Dangerous Goods

Certain highly inflammable materials, like chemicals, can cause fire within the container while being transported if they are not packed properly following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Force Majeure

Natural disasters can cause damage and destruction to shipping containers or cargo. While most such disasters are completely unavoidable, steps can be put into place to minimise damages and loss.

In all cases, the cargo that a container carries must not deteriorate in quality and should reach its destination safely. A compromised cargo container can result in damage to the cargo within. Once damaged, certain types of goods may be dangerous for the port staff or other material handling equipment (MHE) to handle. It may result in grievous injuries or even fatalities.

Training and Best Practices

MHE operators, container truck drivers, and all those staff involved in the loading, unloading, and transportation of cargo have to be educated and trained properly on best practices to prevent accidents and damages.

Types of Container Damages

Container damages are generally classified as follows:

Damages to Container Door

The container door is made up of several parts, making it vulnerable to damage. Besides the Corten steel body of the door, it consists of the locks, the lock rods, hinges, and the rubber gasket. A shipping container with a door that does not close and seal properly is considered a damaged container. Also, an intact CSC plate issued by the relevant authorities, fixed on the container door, is mandatory for all international container cargo movements.


A dent is a local depression on the container wall that is normally caused by an impact.


Bulges are normally smooth depressions that protrude outward or inward from the container wall.


Scratches are caused by a sharp object, such as the forks of a heavy-duty forklift, when it hits and drags along the surface of the container without piercing it completely.

Fractures and Cracks

These are breaks on the container surface, normally in the form of a line, that may or may not have penetrated the steel wall of the container.


When the container wall is penetrated, and the two sides are pulled apart, we have a tear.


When a sharp object penetrates the container wall, it can cause a hole. Holes on a damaged shipping container can also be in the form of a perforation.

Dents, bulges, and scratches may or may not have damaged the goods that are stored in that particular area of the container.

Claiming Compensation for Damage

What are the steps to follow in case a shipping container is received in damaged condition?

The first step would be to take clear photographs of the damage, showing the container number and CSC plate. The next would be to inform the cargo carrier, your insurance company, and the shipper of the damage and the value of the damage if it can be worked out at that time.

The necessary shipping documents have to be provided to these parties to claim compensation. They are:

  • Statement of claim showing details of the loss
  • Bill of lading
  • Proof of delivery of goods
  • Insurance papers
  • The invoice showing the quantity and value of goods
  • Photographs of the damage

Following this, the insurance company will conduct a survey to ascertain the damage and its cause. Sometimes, the shipper, as well as the consignee’s insurance companies, will conduct a joint survey.

Once the surveyors agree on the cause and decide on who has to compensate and the amount to be paid to the consignee, the mode of disposing of the damaged goods is agreed upon and executed at an agreed date.

Certification of Shipping Containers

Who confirms the seaworthiness of a shipping container? Every country that is party to the CSC (Container Safety Convention 1972) has an Administration department that is in charge of issuing the CSC plates to seaworthy containers.

Upon request, certified third-party container inspectors will conduct a thorough inspection of a container to certify to the Administration of the respective country that the container is up to specifications and seaworthy. The Administration will then issue a CSC plate that is affixed to the container door.

Certified Third-party Container Inspectors

Such an inspection by certified third-party container inspectors covers the material of the container, the outside including the underside of the container, the doors, the inside, the ceiling, walls, and vents, if any. The exact dimensions of the container, as well as any repair work carried out on the container, are also taken into account during this inspection.

What Happens to Damaged Shipping Containers?

Generally, a container is made up of doors, corner castings, cross beams, the ceiling, walls, and the floor.

Sometimes, depending on the type of damage to a container, it may be repaired and used again for the transport of cargo. Or, it may be cut up, melted, and recycled for other uses. Damaged containers may be repaired and used as permanent storage containers or as cabins, living quarters, etc.

Some very badly damaged containers are left to rust on land or used to form artificial reefs.

These methods of disposal also apply to shipping containers that are retired or past their useful life of 20 – 25 years.

Any asbestos, lead, or other toxic components on the container are first removed before disposal by the above methods. Asbestos, which is highly resistant to corrosion and heat, is sometimes used in the insulation of shipping containers.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and other diseases. The marine paint used to protect heavy-duty Corten steel containers from rust and corrosion is usually high in lead and other harmful chromates.

It is estimated that much less than 1% of the total shipping containers in circulation globally are damaged or lost at sea each year.

Source: Marine Insight


How Port and Terminal Operators Can Control Emissions?

While the maritime industry has, in the past few years, been the subject of intense scrutiny for its GHG emissions, most of the regulatory focus has been on the shipping sector.

While this is not unusual given that it is the maritime transport leg of the supply chain that accounts for the bulk of emissions (primarily through its bunker consumption), there are other stakeholders that also contribute to emissions (albeit not of the same magnitude as shipping).

This set of stakeholders includes Maritime Ports and Terminal operators, who act as the link between sea and land transport, facilitating EXIM movement by functioning as gateways for vessels to berth at and discharge cargo.

Ports and terminals are capital-intensive assets, requiring significant investments for the acquisition of land, development of facilities, and purchasing of container handling equipment, all of which entail extensive construction activity.

Once constructed and operational, regular container/ cargo handling activity at the port and various ancillary activities also generate emissions.

These ongoing operational activities include the use of cranes and vehicles for moving cargo/ containers within the port premises, fuel consumed by cranes of various types, reach stackers, trucks, and other vehicles, administrative activities, etc., all of which are critical to the smooth functioning of the port.

Thus, the construction and operations of ports and terminals give rise to emissions right from the onset, attributable to the various activities that fall under the port’s scope.

Besides this, the port is considered to be indirectly responsible for emissions emanating from the activities of other entities operating from or using their premises and facilities.

Therefore, while designing and constructing the port and terminals therein, it is advisable to bear in mind the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an internationally agreed-upon set of goals ratified in 2015 as part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Whether setting up a greenfield port, evaluating a port expansion project, or setting daily operational processes, it is essential to consider the impact on the SDGs.

To illustrate this point with specific examples, when conducting feasibility studies for a greenfield port, it is crucial to gauge the impact on the ecology and local society in the region.

Likewise, if the port doesn’t have a natural deep draught, dredging will have to be undertaken at frequent intervals, which will also impact the environment.

Once commissioned, the port can generate significant amounts of waste, which will have to be disposed of responsibly, for which appropriate arrangements will need to be made while designing and constructing the port.

As with all other industries, emissions from ports are categorised into:

  1. Scope 1: emissions directly emanating from the port’s operations
  2. Scope 2: the port’s indirect emissions from power generation
  3. Scope 3: Other indirect emissions

Given their unique position at the intersection of the sea and land legs, ports can not only regulate their own emissions but also help other stakeholders such as Carriers and Truckers in reducing their emissions.

There are certain measures that port authorities and terminal operators can undertake to reduce direct and indirect emissions, which are explained below:

1. Minimising or optimising energy consumption

Since port activities involve the consumption of extensive amounts of energy, it is essential that energy usage be minimised or optimised. This can be done by designing efficient processes that minimise movements and thus help reduce the consumption of energy.

For example, this would entail minimising housekeeping moves, where storage of containers in the port premises is planned such that each container can be easily accessed without the need to move other containers.

2. Green/ renewable energy sources

Given the sizeable energy requirements at ports and terminals, an increasing number of port authorities and terminal operators are looking at replacing conventional fuel-based energy sources with green or renewable energy. The objective is to use energy from clean sources, which will reduce the quantity of emissions and thus reduce pollution.

One such source is solar energy, which involves upfront investment in installation of solar panels, but thereafter generates benefits in the form of lower consumption of conventional energy, lower electricity costs, and reduced emissions.

In the UK, the Portsmouth International Port was the first in the country to utilise solar canopies to power its operations. In the US, the port of Corpus Christi, Texas, is another example of a port exploring solar energy.

3. Sensor-activated / Smart lighting systems:

Given the inherently hazardous nature of work in ports and the potential dangers involved, ports need to have adequate lighting to ensure visibility at all times so that employees and workers avoid accidents due to lack of visibility/ poor light. This obviously implies the consumption of large amounts of electricity.

A growing number of ports are, therefore, replacing standard lighting systems with smart lighting systems that are equipped with activity sensors, where lights switch on automatically when they sense movement and switch off when there is no movement. This helps ports reduce energy consumption, helping strike the right balance between safety and electricity consumption.

4. Cold ironing at Ports

Also known as Alternative Maritime Power or Shoreside Supply, cold ironing involves vessels utilising shore-based power while berthed at the port. The port makes arrangements for the vessel to use power from non/ less-polluting sources (potentially solar power, in the best-case scenario). The vessel is, therefore, able to avoid using bunkers, thus helping reduce emissions.

Cold ironing has been popular in North American and European ports, and China is also now focussing on this by including it in its 5-year plans.

5. Increasing port productivity and efficiency levels

A direct correlation exists between the productivity and efficiency levels at ports and emission levels. As ports and terminals strive to increase their productivity and overall efficiency, their activity levels reduce, thus resulting in lower emissions.

With faster handling of containers on board vessels, loading and unloading of cargo is finished quickly, reducing the vessel’s time at berth or port premises, resulting in lower emissions.

Also, if time is saved at the port, the vessel can subsequently sail at lower speeds and still maintain schedule reliability. Sailing at lower speeds reduces bunker consumption, which in turn lowers emissions.

Sharing data on time and as relevant also enables freight forwarders, onward transport providers, and consignees to proactively plan cargo movement as per timelines provided, which ensures prompt and timely evacuation of containers and also helps reduce waiting and idle time for trucks – all of which help reduce emissions.

6. Use of technology

The key to boosting efficiency and facilitating proactive planning is to utilise technological solutions to assist in operations management.

The market is replete with logtech solutions of varying functionalities and aimed at either the holistic supply chain or specific aspects thereof. Depending on requirements and the relative criticality of each activity, Terminal operators can select software that best meets their requirements.

Using technology can help optimise container and vehicle movements, as well as storage of containers, which reduces fuel consumption.

Likewise, using RFID tracking can help provide visibility to container status and location, which makes it easier to locate and move the container promptly.

In these and other ways, technology can assist in better planning and vessel and container handling, thus reducing wasteful movement, accelerating cargo movement, and generally reducing associated emissions.

7. Green corridors

Green corridors are an innovative concept intended to make the transit between 2 ports more eco-friendly and less polluting. A green shipping corridor connects 2 ports such that it facilitates lower (or zero) emissions by creating an entire ecosystem that is geared towards emission control, encompassing regulatory measures, ensuring the availability of green fuel along the route, and financial incentives.

Given their relative novelty and the extent of work involved, the idea is still catching on, with initially only the biggest ports evaluating its feasibility in connecting to their biggest destinations (such as on the Asia-Europe trade lane).

Source: Marine Insight



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