Preventable Accidents in Ports and Cargo Handling Facilities

Preventable Accidents in Ports and Cargo Handling Facilities

TT Club Highlights Preventable Accidents in Ports and Cargo Handling Facilities

As a leading freight transport insurer TT Club numbers many port terminals a cargo handling facilities among its Members and as such occupies a prime position from which to identify the primary causes of risk and to advise on how such causes can be minimised.  An extensive analysis the Club’s historic claims data has shown that 68% of the cost of claims results from incidents of an operational nature within the port or terminal and a further 14% from poor or insufficient maintenance.  The remainder were weather related.

“It is clear,” emphasised Emmanuel, “that many of these incidents are avoidable if operators were to pay greater attention to some key safety related processes, install more available technology to help prevent collisions and give a higher standard to training to their employees.”

The analysis of a total of over 9,500 claims over a seven-year period totalled some US$ 400 million and covered bodily injury, property and equipment damage and liability.

Emmanuel was at pains to point out that much can be learned from the analysis and that TT Club is ready, willing and able to advise its Members and the industry in general on how such incidents can be avoided and claims minimised.  “The reduction of claims assists the efficiency and profitability of many operators.  It is not just the unforeseen costs of such accidents and the crucial eradication of injury to staff and third parties that results from good risk management,” argued Emmanuel.   “The reputation of the cargo handling organisation is enhanced through an improved safety record.  Operational delays are lessened and customer service levels heightened,” he emphasised.

TT Club strongly urges the use of industry best practice when it comes to safety and security procedures, regular training regimes for management and employees and the inclusion of quality safety devices when designing handling equipment specifications and/or budgeting for retrofitting such devices.

In his presentation to industry professional from throughout the ASEAN region Emmanuel gave several examples of how the later measure can be particularly effective.  “31% of the quay crane damage identified in our analysis was as a result of crane boom collisions; either crane-to-crane or the crane boom hitting a vessel.  There is a good choice of effective boom anti-collision sensors on the market, which if installed professionally and maintained correctly would avert a large number of these accidents,” he noted.  In the container yard, automated stack profiling systems are also available, which would have helped avoid some of the 339 claims incidents experienced by TT over the seven years covered by its causal analysis.

Likewise much of the cost of theft can be alleviated by employing improved security regimes.  These may involve physical barriers such as better fencing and more CCTVs but should also include more effective processes such as paperwork checks and IT anti-hacking software.

Emmanuel concluded, “Prevention through careful risk management is by far the best cure for costly incidents.  A combination of safe and physically secure facilities and equipment; rigorous checks and double-checks on safety procedures and well-trained, well-motivated employees will go a long way to improve operational loss in ports.”

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