Tuesday, November 26, 2013

UK Firms Translate Bulk Cargo Shipping Information for Chinese Freight Interests

Marintec 2013 Shanghai Event Will See Launch of Guide to Asian Sector
Shipping News Feature

UK – CHINA – Nice to see that British firms understand the need to penetrate the Chinese market, particularly when the subject matter is of particular interest to the freight sector. The International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code checklist, which was produced as a pocket guide by Lloyd’s Register, UK P&I Club, and Intercargo earlier this year to aid ships’ officers and agents who arrange cargoes for loading and shipping, has now been translated into Chinese. The Guide will be available to visitors at Marintec 2013, which claims to be the largest maritime trade show in Asia, and is being held in Shanghai between 3 - 6 December.

The guide, formally titled: Carrying solid bulk cargoes safely - Guidance for crews on the IMSBC Code, outlines the precautions that need to be taken before accepting solid bulk cargoes for shipment. It sets out procedures for safe loading and carriage and details the primary hazards associated with different types of cargoes. When bulk cargoes shift, liquefy, catch fire or explode due to poor loading procedures, the consequences can be critical, ships can capsize, lose stability or sustain severe structural damage.

The guide reflects the compliance requirements of the IMSBC Code, which became mandatory on 1 January 2011 under the SOLAS Convention. It addresses the Code’s three cargo groups: Group A – cargoes which may liquefy; Group B – cargoes which possess a chemical hazards and Group C – all other types of cargo. Appendices cover IMO regulations and guidance relating to the transport of solid bulk cargoes and provide an overview of the IMSBC Code. Sam James, Lloyd’s Register’s Global Head of Fire and Safety, said the guide would be extremely useful to crew members as an aide memoire, observing:

"This guide heightens awareness of seafarers, managers, charterers and shippers to the hazards associated with carrying solid bulk cargoes. Everyone involved has a responsibility to ensure cargo is accurately declared and the hazards mitigated. Now with our Chinese language version available we hope to reach an even wider audience of shipping and trading professionals. Clearly China, as the biggest player in the bulk trades, is a vital user group."

The guide includes a quick reference checklist and flowchart summarising the steps to be followed. The hard copy comes in a laminated flip-over format for on-the-spot use. Intercargo Secretary General, Rob Lomas, said:

"Intercargo is pleased to have contributed to this useful publication which highlights the key responsibilities of industry stakeholders and the importance of the IMSBC Code. The guide underlines the importance of proper cargo declarations and will be a useful tool for the wider maritime community, including shippers and charterers and those who do not regularly carry dry cargoes in bulk. Getting the checklist on board ships will help expand seafarers’ knowledge, which will be of great value."

Lloyd’s Register and the UK P&I Club have produced a number of checklists to aid safety and regulation compliance. Subjects have included Port State Control detention, marine fire safety and the Maritime Labour Convention, and UK P&I Club Loss Prevention Director, Karl Lumbers, emphasises that the IMSBC Code has significantly increased the obligations on both suppliers and recipients of solid cargoes, commenting:

"The main purpose of the Guide is to provide on-the-spot references to help in practical situations. It outlines the precautions to be taken before accepting cargoes for shipment and the procedures to be followed for safe loading and carriage, and details the primary hazards associated with different solid bulk cargoes. In giving all parties a better appreciation of the IMSBC Code, the Guide provides greater confidence in managing the risks of carrying solid bulk cargoes and achieving compliance with SOLAS."

Copies of the guide, in English and now Chinese, can be downloaded HERE. Whilst hard copies are available to order from Lloyds and P&I.

In a country often accused of copyright infringement visitors are warned that the Marintec event is already subject to a scam in that a non-authorised or fake travel agent has been approaching potential visitors for some weeks offering travel deals to the event rather than the approved company, China Travel Service (HK) Ltd.