Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coast Guard Eyes Cargo Strapping Rules

The United States Coast Guard is seeking public comment on methods for securing cargo in freight containers and transport vehicles in an effort to determine if new standards for flexible securing systems are needed.

According to a notice published in the Federal Register on Friday, the Coast Guard has recently received complaints about damage to cargo inside containers that was secured with flexible strapping and is now considering making changes to strapping rules.

"There is a concern that without an approval process, certain flexible strapping systems could be used even though they may not adequately secure cargo when properly installed," wrote the Coast Guard.

While current rules require the bracing of cargo to prevent damage, the method employed is left to the discretion of the firm packing the cargo. The Coast Guard is considering whether there is a need for a standardized certification or approval process for cargo securing systems. According to the Coast Guard, under current US regulations and international codes, there is no certification or qualification standards for securing cargo with strapping systems.

The Coast Guard is taking comments until March 9 (search for Docket No. USCG-2009-1079 at www.regulations.gov) on these topics:
  • The need for a new approval process or certification standard for cargo securing systems.
  • Information on currently used standards for the approval and use of cargo securing systems.
  • Methods for ensuring or verifying that securing systems adequately secure cargo without damaging the container or cargo.
  • Existing test methods for securing systems.
  • Materials used for securing cargo within the container (e.g. wood, plastic, bags, web, wire, chain, etc.).
  • Allowances for movement of cargo within the container when securing systems are used.
  • Information on cargo securing systems that are currently being used to secure cargo in containers, both domestically and internationally.
Written comments and responses to the above topics will be added to the docket number for this notice. The Coast Guard said that it intends to review and analyze all comments received "in order to develop a way forward for securing cargo in containers."