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Web Alert: Guidelines for the carriage of charcoal and carbon in containers

13 October 2017

Carbon is one of the most abundant elements. Charcoal is a black residue consisting of impure carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances.

These substances, when in contact with air and without energy supply, have the propensity to self-heat. When carried as a cargo onboard ships, there is a risk of spontaneous combustion & fire. Hence, the transport of these substances must be in compliance with the requirements set out in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).

There have been a number of reported fires in recent years involving the carriage of these cargoes in containers. Fighting fires on containerships is particularly challenging, which makes it all the more important to address the risks before and at the time of shipment.

For this reason, the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS) and the International Group of P&I Clubs have jointly published the attached guidelines on the carriage of charcoal and carbon in containers.

The new guidelines include selected provisions from the IMDG Code, together with additional precautions to enhance its safe carriage. The practices set out in these guidelines are intended both to improve safety during the carriage of this product, and to ensure that it is properly declared, packaged and carried.