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A decline in containers lost at sea

July 14 - The World Shipping Council (WSC), which represents approximately 90 percent of the global liner ship capacity, has released a 2017 update to its containers lost at sea survey, which claims that there has been an industry-wide reduction in lost b

The most recent 2017 survey gathered input for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The results claimed that for each of the three years surveyed, the average number of containers lost at sea, excluding catastrophic events, was 612 - 16 percent less than the average of 733 units lost each year for the previous three year period.

According to the WSC, when catastrophic losses are included, the total containers lost at sea averaged 1,390 - 56 percent of which being attributed to catastrophic events, and a 48 percent reduction from the average annual total losses of 2,683 units in 2014.

The WSC has conducted three surveys over the last nine years - 2017, 2014, 2011 - and estimates that, excluding catastrophic events, an average of 568 containers are lost at sea each year. When taking catastrophic event losses into account, this average rises to 1,582.

"The data consistently shows that the majority of containers lost at sea result from catastrophic events," the report claims. "For example, in 2013, there was a total loss of 5,578 containers - 77 percent of which occurred with the sinking of the MOL Comfort in the Indian Ocean."

The WSC says that the industry has been actively supporting a number of efforts to enhance container safety that should help reduce the number of containers lost at sea, including amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU), and revised ISO standards for container lashing equipment and corner castings.

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