I have recently been very anxious about the idea that basically at the place of loading the only representatives of Carriers and Shippers are the drivers of motor vehicles and loading trucks accordingly. Managers, administrators, lawyers, cargo owners, forwarding, transport and insurance companies – the parties, who would really suffer potential losses – observe the situation from aside.
We insist that the majority of cargo units is loaded without having been properly and sufficiently prepared for transportation. In most cases packing would cost a Shipper a fortune or more, and we cannot blame them for the desire to reduce these costs intending to apply additional packing inside a trailer.
Another important issue is that there is no way the cargo preparation (packing, marking) for a multimodal transportation will be similar to the preparation for a transportation performed by one Carrier and one motor vehicle.
By the end of the chain of these “Chinese whispers” the very idea of applying additional packing is changed out of any recognition, or even eliminated, and ignored; and the “representative of the Shipper” – loading truck driver – just loads cargo units according to some accustomed practice in order to spare time and keep within fixed schedule.
Motor vehicle driver, in turn, takes up the position of wing side spectator, and is not willing to share experience and introduce modifications in the process of loading.
The existence of an approved loading plan, both sides would adhere to, is not a subject at all. Loading areas walls covered in various loading schemes have gone with the wind of change.
For some reason drivers consider that the record “Loaded according to the plan of Shipper” would exempt them from liability for subsequent damages sustained by consignment in the course of transportation. And even though the interpretation is quite controversial, the record is rarely being done.
And what about a CMR with a remark “Loaded in accordance with the driver’s endorsement” in Italian in one corner and “Loaded according to the plan of Shipper” in Russian in another; in the meanwhile the cargo is not secured at all!!
It is clear that even the most competent and skilled driver is incapable of convincing the Shipper to prepare cargo to transportation properly on his own. Which is more, Forwarders often introduce clampdowns on Carriers having direct contacts with cargo owners under penalty of substantial fines. Turns out, it is the Forwarder who responsible for “convincing the Shipper”.
A vivid example of the point is chipboard transportation.
The considered cargo is coated chipboard. Everything set forth below is also true for similar in packs like CPD, plywood, fiberboard, etc.
The boards are produced by a variety of manufacturers in accordance to standards and technical requirements.
According to international standard GOST10632-2007 “Chipboard”, point 4.6 “Packing”:
4.6.1. The boards are put in packages. The stacks contain boards of identical size, mark, sort, surface type according to processing degree;
4.6.2. The packages are formed on trays using top and bottom folders. Low-quality chipboards, fiberboards, plywood, or other materials, protecting the product against physical and atmospheric affection, are used in the capacity of folder.
4.6.3. The height of the package is defined in allowance for hoisting device characteristics, motor vehicles load-carrying ability, but not exceeding 1000 mm and 5000 kg by mass.
4.6.4. Each package is tied cross-wise with steel packing strips, not less than 16 mm wide and 0,5 mm thick, according to GOST 3560. The number of strips should be not less than two, for packages under 500 mm high; and up to six, for packages 500 mm high and more.
As you may see, the considered standard does not say a word about tying a package lengthwise, which would prevent it from longitudal deformation. So the Manufacturers decided they could perfectly do without lengthwise tying, although stack deformation in this case is inevitable.
Packages are being loaded into a trailer several levels high to make full use of a cargo capacity. As a rule packages are loaded 2 to 5 levels high.
One does not have to be at the top of the profession to realize that such packing cannot be found sufficient for road transportation.
For some reason Shippers often overlook point 4.6.5. of the same standard, which says: “4.6.5. Cargo units – according to GOST 26663, GOST 24597 and other normative documents. Means of securing of packed boards – according to GOST 21650 and other normative documents.
Point 1.3 of the GOST 26663-85: “Cargo units: forming using means of packaging” states:
“1.3. Fully formed cargo unit should preserve integrity under the affection of 3 g acceleration of inertial loading”.
According to point 1.8 of the GOST 21650-76 “Means of securing for tare/piece cargos in cargo units. General requirements”:
“1.8. The means of securing should provide the safety of cargo units during the transportation by all means of transport under up to 29,1 m/s2 acceleration of inertial loading”. Basically, 29,1 m/s2 equals 3 g = 3 x 9,81= 29,4 m/s2.
By emergency braking the force of only 0,8 g comes to action. Thus, we may suppose that nothing bad would happen to the lowest package; and the effect we observe on the photos is the result of insufficient packing.
At the photo No. 7 the situation when the whole consignment shifted forward by braking from 40 km/h to standstill at a traffic lights is depicted. The driver had to replace one package to the back of the trailer in order to relive the rear axis of the truck. Incidentally, it is due to careless performing of reloading procedure the cargo sustained the most damages: dragging scratch marks, loading workmen’s footprints.
The friction ration between the boards estimated only 0,1-0,2, which is extremely not enough. Those, who understand the basic principles of hold-down belts operation, realize all the meaninglessness and uselessness of this method application in this case. Still transportation order has direct instructions of Forwarder to “use 12 hold-down belts”. And that’s it.
Eventually we come out with an initially insufficient Manufacturer’s packing and a not-committing instruction to use 12 hold-down belts from Forwarder.
At the same time cargo units (stacks) are being loaded distantly one from another so as not to affect the edges, God forbid,… and the driver if left one to one with the cargo that cannot be secured employing hold-down method. It is a good luck if the driver is acquainted with the concealed characteristics of the cargo, and if not? What if the driver perceives the stack as a solid cargo unit, which does not deform even under 3 g, like if 2 or 3 boxes were placed on one another.
As long as the cargo remains inside the trailer, whatever severe damages it may sustain, the responsibility can still be imposed upon Shipper.
But eventually the habitual negligence of cargo sufficient securing will lead to unfortunate results: the cargo will fall out of the trailer of a vehicle compromising the road traffic safety. In this case there is no way Carrier could probably avoid responsibility.
Such situations are not rear at the territory of Germany. The photos Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16 are striking examples of the consequences of negligence, and not only from Shipper’s side.
On the photo No. 13 initial stage of the trailer front side deformation can be observed, and on the photos Nos. 13-14 severe deformation of the vehicles’ cabs by the shifting cargo is depicted.
Returning to the beginning of the article I dare stating that here case we have come across a classic example of a situation when insufficiently packed cargo can be additionally packed inside the trailer of a vehicle to avoid potential damage. The party, responsible for organization of safe additional packing inside a trailer; and it is the Forwarder who has to reveal concealed drawbacks of cargo in advance and compel Shipper to work a loading and securing plan out and all other involved parties to fulfill the plan.
The solution to the described problem is elementary. All we need is care for the entrusted cargo. For example, if we fill gaps with blocking system and apply springs the cargo will be secured against longitudal shift. The range of effective solutions is extremely wide.
Forwarders should better not expect motor vehicle and loading drivers to perform miracles.