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Container Shipping Industry Sees Dramatic Drop in Lost Cargo

Container Shipping Industry Sees Dramatic Drop in Lost Cargo

The container shipping industry is celebrating a significant victory in its fight to reduce the number of boxes lost at sea. The World Shipping Council (WSC), a major industry group, reports a record low in lost containers for the second year running. This achievement comes after a multi-year effort to improve safety measures, including tackling the dangers of parametric rolling and proper cargo securing.

The positive trend is linked to a crucial project launched in 2021 by the Netherlands’ marine institute Marin. This initiative focused on enhancing container and cargo transportation safety following a series of high-profile incidents. The project yielded valuable data and educated mariners on critical topics like parametric rolling and its management. Additionally, a calculator was developed to assess risk based on weather, sea conditions, and vessel specifications.

Citing the project’s success, the WSC reports a dramatic decrease in lost containers. In 2023, only 221 containers were reported lost overboard, a two-thirds reduction compared to 2022’s 661. While the three-year average remains higher at 1,061 due to 2021’s heavy losses, the downward trend is undeniable.

The WSC report highlights further improvements: most member carriers experienced minimal or no container losses in 2023, with just one carrier exceeding 100 lost units. However, the report also acknowledges the environmental impact of these incidents, citing the high-profile case of Maersk losing 46 containers, including some containing plastic nurdles, in the North Sea.

The WSC emphasizes the positive trend as a testament to enhanced container safety, improved navigation, and efficient vessel routing. They also highlight a 33% recovery rate for lost containers.

“While the reduction is a positive step,” said John Butler, CEO of the World Shipping Council, “we remain committed to eliminating container loss entirely. Every lost container poses a potential hazard.”

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The industry’s commitment extends beyond internal efforts. The WSC emphasizes collaboration with governments and stakeholders to implement stricter safety measures and guarantee secure cargo transport. The progress achieved serves as a springboard for further advancements, the WSC noted.

This development coincides with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) move towards mandatory reporting. Starting in 2026, the IMO will require ship captains to report lost containers and sightings of containers adrift at sea. The WSC applauds the IMO’s initiative and highlights its active role in shaping these regulations. The WSC’s contributions extend to revising ISO standards for container lashing equipment and the Code of Practice for Cargo Transport Units.

MMJ News Desk
Author: MMJ News Desk

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