A number of safety factors have arisen in how goods are stored and the facilities where they are stored. Given the increased volumes of dangerous goods transported in sea containers, and the occurrence of both major and minor incidents, some industry groups have joined to issue guidance on safe storage and handling of dangerous goods in warehouses, including port and terminal facilities.
The International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), International Vessel Owners Dangerous Goods Association (IVODGA), National Cargo Bureau (NCB) and World Shipping Council (WSC) have responded to this critical requirement by releasing on December 15, a whitepaper entitled, “Dangerous Goods Warehousing.”
“The temporary or long-term storage of dangerous goods in a facility, necessitates careful planning, supervision and continued due diligence,” noted Uffe V Ernst-Frederiksen and Ken Rohlmann both of IVODGA, in the paper. “While the major disasters in Beirut and Tianjin have been widely reported, there are many other incidents around the globe that do not garner the same attention, but which have the potential to escalate. There are existing international, national and local regulations for dangerous goods in transit for various modes of transport but there is no direct equivalent for warehouses.”
The paper details the risks involved in storing and handling dangerous goods and, importantly the measures to be taken in containing them. Topics covered include competency and training of workforces; property construction; fire protection; security equipment and protocols and emergency response procedures. It is intended as a practical guide to systematic and documentable processes for those managing and operating storage facilities to ensure ongoing safety but also that incidents are containable if and when they arise.
“A pivotal element of our guidance is a Warehouse Checklist,” states Richard Steele of ICHCA. “Given our aim to provide a practical management tool, we believe the Checklist format is a significant addition to the other elements of the White Paper. Broken down into eight key functional areas of operation, this comprehensive 14-page Checklist is designed as both a planning guideline and a review tool, as well as an everyday device for maintaining safety management vigilance.”
The Dangerous Goods Warehousing White Paper has been endorsed by influential industry stakeholders including Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), Bureau International des Containers (BIC), Container Owners Association (COA), Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles (COSTHA), Danish Shipping, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), International Group of P&I Clubs (IGP&I) and Through Transport Mutual Insurance Association Ltd (TT Club).