Many incidents in freight transport are attributed to poor practices in the packing of freight containers, including inadequate securing of cargo, overloading and incorrect declaration of contents. The victims of these incidents may be the general public or transport and supply chain workers, who generally have no control over the packing of containers.
Moreover, the poor practices related to packing cargo in containers, in particular regarding load distribution and cargo securing but also regarding classification and declaration of cargo, are estimated to cost the transport and logistics sector worldwide more than US$ 6 billion every year.
The ILO-IMO-UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code) provides a non-mandatory global code of practice for handling and packing of containers for transport by land and sea, ensuring people and cargo are safely handled.
The application of the Code was discussed at the UNECE workshop at the Port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan on 20-21 September 2023. Experts from Kazakhstan joined by experts from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran (Islamic Republic of) and supported by experts from the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United Kingdom considered (i) roles and responsibilities for the packing and handling of cargo in containers, (ii) appropriate loading methods depending on type of cargo, type of commodity or it packaging, (iii) marking of containers, (iv) cargo securing methods and (v) cargo declarations.
They also engaged in practical exercises at the Port of Aktau. In the first exercise, they visually examined a container, its marking and loaded cargo. In the second exercise, they designed securing methods for a cable drum, a stone pallet, and a heating equipment and tested the securing in inclination tests.
The workshop, organized by UNECE in collaboration with the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), Kazakhstan’s Transport Ministry and the Port of Aktau Administration, with financial support from the Russian Federation, resulted in vast exchange of knowledge and experience to prevent poor practice in loading and securing cargo. It helped to raise awareness among the experts along the Trans-Caspian and Almaty-Teheran-Istanbul freight corridors about the CTU Code and its practical application in particular concerning loading and securing practices.