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SAFETY OF LIFE AND CARGO AT SEA

Exis Technologies launches cargo screening tool for misdeclared and undeclared dangerous goods, 1 September 2020

Exis Technologies, global leaders in IT solutions for the management of dangerous goods in sea transport, and their parent company National Cargo Bureau (NCB), the New York based cargo inspection company have launched Hazcheck Detect, a cargo screening tool to detect misdeclared and undeclared dangerous goods in containerised shipments. Maersk are the first customer signed to the Hazcheck Detect solution. 

In a white paper published by NCB in July this year they reported that a recent Container Inspection Safety Initiative they had carried out revealed an alarming number of containers carried by sea include misdeclared dangerous cargoes that represent a serious safety risk to crew, vessel and the environment. The inspection initiative showed that 55% of containers were non-compliant with 43% failing to secure dangerous goods correctly within the container itself. Approximately 6.5% of containers carrying dangerous cargoes had been misdeclared. The white paper is calling for industry to adopt a comprehensive, holistic and coordinated approach to address this worrying trend with 12 recommendations ranging from embracing a safety culture for dangerous goods compliance to practical measures for container and vessel inspections and monitoring.

One of the white paper recommendations is the incorporation of integrated digital tools that automate critical compliance functions, like Hazcheck Detect.

Hazcheck Detect focuses on:

Undeclared dangerous goods  - looks for cargo that is not declared as DG, looking for suspicious items that should be declared as DG.

Misdeclared dangerous goods - looks for cargo which is declared as DG, but may not have been declared as the correct DG.

It scans all booking details for keywords, validates against rules and highlights suspicious bookings to identify misdeclared and undeclared dangerous goods (DG). Container lines that sign up to use the service will be able to screen their bookings and bills of lading using the same keywords and rules to try to find mis and/or undeclared dangerous goods, thereby helping to ensure the safety of the crew, ships and cargo. In the future there is also scope to apply the tool for use in other global screening applications not related to dangerous goods, for example, the illegal shipping of wildlife or other compliance cargo. Currently, the system has around 4,500 mis-declared rules and 10,000 undeclared rules available.

The solution supports the creation of rules based on keywords and the rules are designed to ensure that only search results of interest are returned for specific follow up. The rules are continually enhanced and will evolve using machine learning and AI techniques. 

Hazcheck Detect is delivered as a software-as-a-service solution, hosted and maintained by Exis Technologies. It includes a web user interface so that users can enter and maintain data search terms, keywords and rules.

Henrik Lauritsen, Director at Maersk said, "Exis Technologies has developed a solution that could be used industry wide and allows easy sharing of keywords and rules between industry partners. This is very important so that container lines know that partner lines are searching using the same criteria. The service went into live operation in February 2020 and we are finding an average of 40 containers a week which are stopped, undeclared DG or re-declared as DG. In the past these containers would have been loaded on board as non DG cargo or misdeclared. Critically we get the search hits returned from Hazcheck Detect within seconds so that we can follow up quickly to ensure that suspicious cargo is not loaded on to the vessels. We are delighted to be the first shipping line to start using Hazcheck Detect and we encourage more lines to come on board."