Caption: Hefty fees and penalties await consignors of cargo who do not adhere to the new Container Packing Code of Practice and the verification of Container Weight Regulations for transport. Consignors will be liable for all costs associated to any damage incurred to property and the environment due to non-compliance of the new regulations. Local and International industry leaders and regulators from the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the National Department of Transport, gathered in Durban recently for the third International Cargo Transport Units (CTU) Packing Roadshow, where the importance of complying with the new CTU codes and weight verification Regulations were addressed and discussed.

Consignors and any company involved in the transport of cargo, whether general freight, refrigerated or dangerous goods by road, rail or water, in any form of container, trailer, tanker or rail car, will be required by law to implement and adhere to the new IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU)*.

Compliance requires contents to be firmly secured to prevent movement when transported, particularly under turbulent conditions, as well as a stable distribution of weight (within the weight limitations) inside the container prior to sealing and shipping the consignment. The new regulations for the verification of container weight will come into effect in July 2016. This means that the consignor, in other words, the company responsible for packing the contents, will be liable for all the costs associated to any damage incurred should an incident occur while the cargo is in transport.

These essential compliance issues were discussed by industry leaders from all over the world at the recent CTU Packing Roadshow in Durban.

Captain Richard Brough from London, Director of the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA – the leading NGO association representing the interests of the global cargo handling industry), spoke about the consequences of incorrectly secured contents and mis-declared cargo weights and how in-depth research conducted resulted in the amendment of the Code to further enforce proper securing and weight restrictions on cargo transportation. Brough comments, “Container weight verification is crucial as part of this whole process; being a tonne or so out on your calculations can have devastating effects and cause major accidents and losses. With these new measures, it is hoped that high impact incidents will be significantly reduced, if not eradicated.”

Justin Reynolds from the International Maritime Insurance company TT Club adds that, “Disastrous transport incidents are often a result of a domino effect following a single cause, whether its weight, packing or securing related. It’s therefore exceptionally important that we encourage behavioural change through regulations at all levels of the supply chain, to reduce loss and serious liability.”

Representatives from South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and the Department of Transport endorsed the need for greater awareness, implementation and compliance by South African industries to reduce incidents in all modes of transport. The next stage is to create awareness about the availability of the amended CTU Code and weight verification regulations, and to train staff appropriately, which will result in improved compliance and fewer devastating incidents.

The extensively revised and upgraded IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of CTUs was approved in January 2014 by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and United Nations Economic Council for Europe (UNECE) Transport Committee, and in November by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), thereby protecting workers loading the cargo and also preventing accidents during transport. Companies involved in any form of CTU logistics must comply with the new Code this year and the weight verification regulations by July 2016.

The event was organised for ICHCA by, and in partnership with the Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa (RPMASA), followed by a one day International Maritime Dangerous Goods Training (IMDG) session, which also saw excellent industry participation and response.

Executive Director at RPMASA, Liz Anderson says, “We are thrilled about the great turn-out for the event. It goes to show that many industry professionals are eager to ensure their operations comply with international regulation. However this is just a start and there are still hundreds of organisations out there who need to be trained!

“The event also proved to be a successful networking opportunity where international industry leaders shared their knowledge and contact details with like-minded colleagues,” concluded Anderson.

For more information about RPMASA contact 032 947 1145 | 032 947 1956, email: or visit

*The new IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for CTU Packing is available and can be downloaded from the UNECE website.


RPMASA is an industry association providing a focal point for organisations (industry and retail) involved in the life cycle and supply chain of chemicals, chemical products and hazardous articles, which are regulated. It provides members with supply chain compliance solutions tailored to their company needs, and is a registered Non-Profit Organisation so subscriptions etc. are tax deductible.

The Association provides members with information, specialist knowledge, training, audit and consultancy opportunities, as well as new services to aid compliance in the supply chain. Information on chemical classification, packaging and labelling, handling, storage and transport, including Risk Assessments. RPMASA participates in various government fora for new Legislation and Regulations as well as International and National Standards.

It is the only Industry Association from Africa with a seat on the UN Committee of Experts for transport of dangerous goods and the UN GHS – Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of chemicals. It is thus uniquely placed to provide members with up to date international information, as well as new, and coming legislation for local and export markets, to assist them be pro-active with timeous compliance.