Friday, October 2, 2015

Container Shipping Lines Cooperate on Dangerous Goods Freight Tracing System

Hapag-Lloyd Assists Maersk to Improve Safety and Identify Risk
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – DENMARK – German container line Hapag-Lloyd, and Danish shipping giant Maersk Line, have agreed to cooperate in improving the safety of dangerous goods the shipping companies carry, following a meeting held in Hamburg earlier this week, during which Maersk Line showed interest in implementing a freight tracing system, similar to Hapag-Lloyd’s watchdog programme, into its business processes. Dangerous goods that are declared imprecisely, incorrectly or not at all have the potential to pose a major risk to crews, ships, the environment and other cargo on board.

The watchdog programme, together with the Hapag-Lloyd FIS (Freight Information System), continuously examines cargo data to identify anything conspicuous and features a database of more than 6,000 keywords that are constantly being added to and refined. Soren Toft, Chief Operating Officer of Maersk Line, said:

“By implementing a system similar to Hapag-Lloyd’s watchdog programme, we will be able to increase safety on board of our 600 vessels and at the terminals we call. We will also improve our risk profile and in the same time we will be sending a strong message to the shippers, who put safety at risk.”

Hapag-Lloyd says that last year it discovered 2,620 cases of incorrectly declared dangerous goods that were prevented from being shipped. Dangerous goods experts at Hapag-Lloyd investigated over 162,000 suspicious cases which were recorded using a newly developed watchdog software. Anthony J. Firmin, Chief Operating Officer of Hapag-Lloyd, commented:

“Experience, know-how and secure processes are crucial for a safe transport of dangerous goods. We are very happy that we were approached by other shipping lines to learn more about our watchdog program. The cooperation with Maersk Line is a very important step forward for increased safety and security of our entire industry.”

Besides the obvious risk of a serious accident posed by them carriage of undeclared dangerous and prohibited goods has always been a problem for the shipping lines, often resulting in their prosecution or severe delays to vessels whilst the matter is resolved, the recent Höegh Autoliners incident being a case in point.