ICHCA, IVODGA team up on safety issues

01 October 2021

The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) International, representative of global cargo handling operators, and the International Vessel Operators Dangerous Goods Association (IVODGA), whose membership consists of the world’s ocean carriers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to tackle safety issues of dangerous goods, storage and transport. 

The collaboration of these two industry bodies, will focus on producing clearly defined guidelines to best practice based on years of practical experience in handling dangerous goods.

Container ship fires and explosions in port storage facilities continue to be the result of poorly packed and misdeclared hazardous materials as they move through the global supply chain, according to partners.

“The extraordinary disaster in Beirut last August was an all too unwelcome wake-up call to everyone involved in the transport, storage and distribution of dangerous materials,” Richard Steele, CEO of ICHCA International, noted

“However, similar incidents, smaller in proportion, yet damaging to life and limb as well as property happen across the supply chain on a frequent basis.”

He was referring to the massive explosion which occurred on August 4 in the vicinity of the Beirut Port Complex, wreaking havoc across the city and killing dozens of people.

The blast is believed to have originated from a chemical storage warehouse where an estimated 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate got ignited. The material has reportedly been confiscated from a ship a while ago and stored there, but without proper safety measures.

To tackle such accidents, the partners will work closely on joint projects to improve standards across numerous common safety issues affecting the transport of dangerous goods. The MoU signed by the two influential industry bodies, adds impetus to disseminating effective guidance on the correct safety procedures that need to be employed, they said.

“The mutual cooperation of IVODGA and ICHCA will be aimed at the universal understanding and application of measures for the safe handling and storage of a range of goods with potential to cause explosions, fires and noxious gas emissions etc,” Steele added

“The mutual goals and the shared respect of our two organisations will result in a positive contribution to a clear and efficient communication between not just our members but crucially across all stakeholders in the supply chain whose interests touch any and all hazardous materials,” Uffe V Ernst Frederiksen, AP Moller - Maersk A/S, Vice Chair of IVODGA and Special Adviser to ICHCA International, commented.

Last year, in September, ICHCA partnered with four international freight transport and cargo handling organisations to help reduce container-related incidents aboard ships.  

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