May 6 - ICHCA International, the NGO association for the global cargo handling industry, has just released a major new addition to its Briefing Pamphlet series - BP41

The pamphlet provides detailed insight into the design of platform flats and flatrack containers, together with advice on best practice for operating these specialist container types. The new publication was written by container design and operations expert Bill Brassington, deputy chair of ICHCA's ISP Technical Panel, which plays a key role in the association's technical research and advice programme.

As highlighted recently by concerned parties including insurance company TT Club, poor container loading and handling is responsible for an alarmingly high percentage of incidents along the transport chain, leading to damage, loss, injuries and fatalities.

The operation of platform flats and flatrack containers in particular require specialist knowledge and, in some cases, specialist handling equipment. These container types are generally used to carry oversize or project cargo which cannot be easily loaded into standard box type freight containers, or is too long, wide or high to fit.

Examples discussed and illustrated in the new publication include vehicles such as cars, vans, coaches and tractors; cable reels; construction materials and equipment and more.

Comprehensively illustrated throughout, BP41 provides detailed loading, securing and lifting instructions for shippers, packers, ports, shipping and transport companies and other involved parties to ensure the safety of cargo, equipment and staff along the supply chain.

As well as exploring the various designs of platform flats and flatracks, the publication offers detailed advice on loading, unloading and securing cargoes, lifting loaded and empty units and maintenance. Special chapters are devoted to  loading/unloading and securing vehicles and to the practice of nesting, where multiple empty folded flatracks are stacked and transported as a single container unit.

BP41 ­ Safe Handling and Operation of Platform Flats and Flatrack Containers is part of a series of more than 90 publications produced by ICHCA International, mainly through the organisation's ISP Technical Panel. The paper is free to download from ICHCA's website for members of ICHCA International, and available to purchase by non-members.