“We have identified that 24 percent of all incidents involve mis-declaration and this is probably the first time that this ‘iceberg’ risk has been quantified,” explains Reinhard Schwede of the Cargo Services/Dangerous Cargo Department of Hapag-Lloyd and the current Chairman of CINS. “With these findings, the CINS Organisation will engage with enforcement agencies, competent authorities and the IMO to gain support for the relevant changes to legislation or other safe practice recommendations.”

Designed to capture key data, Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) is a database system that was created by COA Members from five of the top 20 liner operators (CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line and MSC – Mediterranean Shipping Company). It was produced in response to the volume of incidents and problems that regularly disrupt operations and endanger lives, property or the environment.

Liner operators use CINS to capture important information relating to cargo and container incidents, providing an early warning of causes for concern that may be trending.

This may relate to cargoes that display dangerous characteristics, not yet recognised as such in the IMDG (International Maritime Dangerous Goods) Code, as well as continuing or emerging unsafe practices in the unit load industry.

Since the launch of CINS, data captured includes the nature of the cargo concerned and its packing, together with details of the routing and information about the type of incident and its root cause.

As an advisory member of the CINS committee, specialist container insurance provider the TT Club, recently undertook an analysis of the data on behalf of CINS.

The analysis has shown that 80 percent of the substances involved in these incidents are dangerous goods and almost half relate to leakage, with a further quarter reported as mis-declared. A reported 8 percent of the incidents (by number) involve fire or explosion. Importantly, however, the reports of incidents relating to mis-declared cargo represents a marked increase in the first four months of 2013 compared with the previous 18 months.

Through analysis of the root cause of incidents, CINS aspires to identify ways to make the supply chain safer.

“The subject of packing cargo is a current focus throughout the transport industry,” adds Schwede, “and rightly so, according to results found through the CINS database. Poor or incorrect packaging are persistent causes, accounting for almost 40 percent of incidents over nearly two years. This is all the more concerning when we recognise that more than a third of the incidents involve corrosive cargoes, which by nature will react with other substances.”

Since the public launch of the database in September 2011, the lines participating in CINS have more than doubled, assisting with populating the database, which is hosted by the COA. According to Alphaliner figures, participants in CINS now account for some 58 percent of container slot capacity.

“A quest for quality is at the heart of this initiative,” says Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director, TT Club, “both in terms of pure service delivery, ensuring the cargo arrives on time and in sound condition, and also improving the way in which all parties in the supply chain carry out their obligations and communicate.”

Evergreen Line, one of the founding members of CINS, recently hosted the CINS Committee for one of its regular meetings to consider important issues of safety, security, health and environment.

“Evergreen Line and all CINS members see this as a commitment to their corporate social responsibilities,” says Embert Chen of the company’s Cargo Claims Department. “CINS findings to date show a strong case to seek broader industry involvement, to increase the awareness of areas of concern and trends in containerised shipping, and continue to improve safety in the supply chain.”

For further information, please contact Patrick Hicks at the COA Secretariat on secretary@containerownersassociation.org or telephone +44 (0) 20 8390 0000.