60 million packed containers are moved each year, and 10 per cent are declared as dangerous goods. Some ships carry more than 1,000 containers with dangerous goods on any given voyage. Most of the significant ship fires are attributed to misdeclared dangerous goods. Mistakes can be made due to lack of competence, Unfortunately in some cases, cargo is deliberately declared incorrectly to save cost or time. In other cases, the cargo may have been properly declared, but mistakes are made with packing and stowing the cargo in the container. Unless the container is physically opened and inspected, there is no way of knowing whether the cargo is safe for transport.
The NCB Group have created a realtime cargo screening service to address the problem of misdeclared and undeclared dangerous goods. Hazcheck Detect, launched in September 2020, screens approximately 15 million requests monthly, identifying on average approximately 30,000 suspicious cases. This leads to the prevention of 40-50 high risk containers per week being loaded onto vessels.
Maersk was the first customer to sign to Hazcheck Detect in 2020, followed by ONE and Hapag Lloyd in 2021. Pacific International Lines (PIL) is now the fourth customer to adopt the tool (2022).
Bojarajoo Subramaniam, Assistant General Manager, Operations and Procurement, PIL commented, “We are pleased to adopt this important industry solution. We have already seen improvements in the amount of misdeclared/undeclared dangerous goods that we are picking up in the booking process using the case management function of the tool. The analytics provided gives our staff much greater visibility of what is happening in the screening process, raising standards across the whole company. In just a few weeks of using the tool, we have been able to prevent over 100 containers from being loaded onto our ships that should have been subject to IMDG Code checks. We are proud to be part of a group of container lines that are working together to stop accidents at sea.”
To help with the issue of undeclared and misdeclared dangerous goods, NCB has produced an Holistic Approach White Paper. This recommends the incorporation of integrated digital tools, like Hazcheck Detect, that automate critical compliance functions.