Disturbing DG News from Hapag-Lloyd

The shipping company reports a considerable boost in falsely declared dangerous goods. Last year, more than 4,300 cases worldwide were detected, an irritating year-on-year increase of 65 percent!

Ken Rohlmann  -  credit HL
Ken Rohlmann - credit HL

The ‘Watchdog’ program developed jointly by Hapag-Lloyd’s IT and dangerous goods experts identified 4,314 incorrectly declared dangerous goods cases last year. The program’s centerpiece is a special safety software that continuously checks cargo data to identify anything that might be conspicuous. Hapag-Lloyd reports that in 2015 their DG experts looked into more than 236,000 suspicious cases picked up by the safety software. An alarming number, because dangerous goods that are declared imprecisely, incorrectly or not at all have the potential to pose a major risk to crews, ships, other cargo and the environment. 

The Tianjin effect
According to Ken Rohlmann, head of the dangerous goods department at Hapag-Lloyd, there are two reasons behind the steep increase: “Firstly, the volume of cargo shipped by Hapag-Lloyd went up considerably last year due to the company’s merger with CSAV’s container business. Secondly, there was a sharp rise in ‘Watchdog’ findings following the devastating dangerous goods explosion in the port of Tianjin in mid-August,” states Ken. As consequence, many ports tightened their dangerous goods guidelines drastically in the wake of the incident or even prohibited dangerous goods from being processed at all.

Increasing interest in HL’s IT tool
Hapag-Lloyd’s ‘Watchdog’, which is considered to be a leading software in the shipping industry to detect DGs has been subject to a lot of interest from customs and port authorities, police, as well as from other shipping companies. Ken Rohlmann: “With the software, our industry can considerably reduce the risk posed to crews, ships, cargo and the environment.” After all, it’s in the interests of everyone involved that the entire shipping system should be made safer and abuse be prevented, emphasizes the expert.

Heiner Siegmund

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