TT Club warns of risks arising from the overflow of cargo

Cargo handling. Credit: IAPH Shanghai

TT Club has warned of risks that could arise from the accumulation of cargo at terminals, citing the lack of available storage and the overflow of goods.

Some 90% of UK warehouses are full, with space expected to run out over the next fortnight. Potential locations used for overflow of cargoes may lack the relevant security measures, providing opportunities for theft, noted Michael Yarwood, TT Club Loss Prevention managing director.

“Security is clearly the most dominant of the risk issues as operators seek alternative storage,” said Yarwood. “Whether it’s taking up buildings not usually used for storage or laden vehicles parked adjacent to a full warehouse, or simply facilities unfamiliar to the operator, the security regime may not be of a similar standard.

“There is also the constant danger of vehicles being diverted into the hands of criminals; so-called ‘round the corner’ theft.”

Meanwhile, as cargo mounts up and space at dedicated storage and handling facilities runs out, risks grow of a major incident involving hazardous cargoes, which could ultimately lead to loss of life and serious property damage, at a time when the relevant emergency personnel are severely hampered in their operations.

Such an incident occurred in the port of Laem Chabang, Thailand, where more than 200 people were injured in an explosion on board KMTC HONG KONG as the vessel sat on the quayside. The vessel was carrying 13 containers full of calcium hypochlorite (bleach), and five containers full of chlorinated paraffin wax, the common denominator in a vast number of ship fires.

Improper stowage of hazardous materials leads to considerable risk, as evidenced during the spate of shipboard fires that occurred early in 2019 and throughout 2018, with improperly stored sodium hypochlorite (bleach) at the bottom of container stacks responsible for a large number of deaths and ship casualties.

“Consideration needs to be given to the nature of the cargo and the capability to handle and store hazardous materials and specialised commodities correctly [such as high value or temperature controlled],” TT Club said.