October 18 - A global transport and logistics insurer is calling for increased attention to structural surveying of quay cranes as part of its ongoing drive towards loss prevention.

The London-based TT Club has issued an appeal to worldwide operators of quay cranes of all types and dimensions to establish a regular sequence of maintenance and thorough examination of all the lifting appliances they utilise in the face of a disturbing number of major structural failures in port equipment in recent years.

Not only can this type of equipment failure be very costly in terms of repairs and operational downtime but can result in serious accidents and injuries, says the club.

Laurence Jones, TT Club's global risk assessment director, stresses how essential it is for operators of ports and cargo handling facilities to maintain a regular sequence of maintenance.

"Provisions for such examinations are specified in ILO Convention 152 and its accompanying Code of Practice, and represent the international standard for the port industry. The purpose of a thorough examination is to make sure a crane can continue working safely and effectively, and a crucial element of this with regard to a quay crane is the safety of its structure," Jones emphasised.

The club recommends that independent examinations are always performed when procuring any type of crane as the ILO Convention requires that before being brought into commission for the first time, lifting appliances are tested and a thorough examination carried out. Damage resulting from relatively minor impacts, regular heavy lifts close or equal to the safe working load limits, intensive use or simply general wear and tear can affect the integrity of the crane's structure. Often such operational issues can occur without anybody being aware, so regular examinations need to be conducted.