Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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42 Proceedings Fall 2014 www.uscg.mil/proceedings Since then, vessel design and construction have evolved and recently culminated in the new Triple-E class containership. At 1,319 feet in length, with a beam of 194 feet, these vessels can carry more than 18,000 TEUs. To put the carry capacity of these vessels into perspective, the Triple-E can transport approximately 182 million iPads in a single voyage. 1 Shipping container versatility has created an expanding market, which saw growth from merely 1.5 million TEU in 1988 to more than 9.5 million TEU in 2011, 2 and is projected to see growth of about 80 percent gross domestic product in the U.S. for the next 25 years. 3 International Trade In 2007, the Panama Canal Authority announced its plan to accommodate larger container vessels by expanding its locks. As the Panama Canal is a key piece in the shipping i ndu st r y supply c h a i n — con ne c t i ng 14 4 sh ippi ng routes — this expansion project is great news for shippers who carry larger loads. Today, the canal currently allows container vessels with capacity of no more than 4,400 TEU to transit through the Panamanian isthmus. However, once the project is completed, the load limit will increase to 12,000 TEU. This is also good news for the Panama Canal Authority, as containers are the main commodity moved through the Panama Canal, and account for more than 50 percent of toll revenue. 4 The expan- sion project, originally stalled due to some funding issues, is today nearly three-quarters complete. 5 Cargo Misdeclaration, Inaccurate Weight Now for some bad news. The exponential increase in con- tainerized cargo is not without incident. In recent years, the container shipping industry has grown concerned regard- ing the increase in incidents involving moving cargo by container. The two most prom- inent concerns: • misdeclaration of danger- ous goods, • failure to disclose accurate cargo weight within the container. For example, on June 18, 2013, a fre erupted in three containers on a vessel, causing dam- age to several surrounding containers. The fre originated in a container misdeclared (mislabeled) as household goods. Container fres can be particularly dangerous and very dif- fcult to control, depending on the location of the container in the stack, or in the cargo hold, and intensifed by the extreme high temperatures that can be reached inside the container. 6 Another unfortunate example of the dangers that misde- clared cargo pose was the 2012 fre on a containership that completely destroyed the containers in the number 3 to 7 holds, forcing the crew to abandon ship and resulting in the death of three crew members when one of the contain- ers exploded. The fre most likely originated in a container stowed below deck in a hold that contained misdeclared hazardous cargo that was not properly declared by the manufacturer nor stowed in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. 7 Additionally, misdeclared container cargo weight has been a longstanding problem that presents safety hazards for ships, crews, other cargo onboard, and workers in the port facility. 8 A paper submitted to the International Maritime Organiza- tion (IMO) notes several vessel and facility incidents during the last several years in which containers were found to have misdeclared weights. 9 Although a misdeclared individual container by itself would not be sufficient to negatively Courtesy of Ashar and Rodrigue, 2012. The Geography of Transport Systems, 3rd Edition. The Sage Handbook of Transport Studies PortEconomics.eu. All dimensions are in meters. LOA: Length overall. Thanks to Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Ph.D, professor, Department of Global Studies & Geography, Hofstra University, New York.