VGM is the beginning CTU Code is the end

Much discussion has taken place on VGM rules and many are under a false impression that this is the end to container safety. No, VGM is the beginning but compliance to guidance in CTU Code is the end for safer containers.


Declaring the correct weight alone does not guarantee safety of container. Together with correct weight declaration the cargo within the container must be properly secured to avoid any mishap during the journey. Most incidents related to accidents involving containers are related to poorly packed container, improper securing and lashing inside, incorrect weight distribution or declaration which result in injury to general public, port workers, ship staff or any other who does not have any control or say in how the goods are packed inside the container.

International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) revised the old IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units and published CTU Code, Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs).

CTU Code is prepared to assist the industry, shippers, packers and all others involved in packing containers of safe stowage of cargo within the container.

Below are the topics covered in recommended training of CTU Code which itself highlight the comprehensive approach to safe packing of cargo in containers.
Consequences of badly packed and secured cargo
 Injuries to persons and damage to the environment
 Damage to chips and CTUs
 Damage to cargo
 Economic consequences

 Different parties involved in cargo transport
 Legal responsibility
 Goodwill responsibility
 Quality assurance

Forces acting on the cargo during transport
 Road transport
 Rail transport
 Sea transport

Basic principles for cargo packing and securing
 Prevention from sliding
 Prevention from tipping
 Influence of friction
 Basic principles for cargo securing
 Dimensions of securing arrangements for combined transport

CTUs – types
 Containers
 Flats
 Swap bodies
 Road vehicles
 Rail-cars/wagons

Cargo care consciousness and cargo planning
 Choice of transport means
 Choice of CTU type
 Check of CTU prior to packing
 Cargo distribution in CTUs
 Requirements from the receiver of cargo regarding cargo packing
 Condensation risks in CTUs
 Symbols for cargo handling

Different methods for cargo packing and securing
 Lashing
 Blocking and bracing
 Increasing friction

Equipment for securing and protection of cargo
 Fixed equipment on CTUs
 Reusable cargo-securing equipment
 One-way equipment
 Inspection and rejection of securing equipment

On completion of packing
 Closing the CTU
 Marking and placarding
 Documentation
 Verifying gross mass

Packing and securing unitized cargo
 Cases
 Palletized cargoes
 Bales and bundles
 Bags on pallets
 Big bags
 Slabs and panels
 Barrels
 Pipes
 Cartons

Packing and securing of non-unitized cargo
 Different types of packaged cargoes loaded together
 Packing of heavy and light cargoes together
 Packing of rigid and non-rigid cargoes together
 Packing of long and short cargoes together
 Packing of high and low cargoes together
 Packing of liquid and dry cargoes together

Packing and securing of paper products
 General guidelines for the packing and securing of paper products
 Vertical rolls
 Horizontal rolls
 Sheet paper on pallets

Packing and securing of cargo requiring special techniques
 Steel coils
 Cable drums
 Wire rolls
 Steel slabs
 Steel plates
 Big pipes
 Stone blocks
 Machines

Packing and securing of dangerous cargoes
 Regulations for the transport of dangerous goods
 Definitions
 Packing regulations
 Packing, separation and securing
 Labelling and placarding
 Information transfer when transporting dangerous cargoes
 Liabilities

If you are involved in packing containers it is greatly recommended to follow the CTU Code and undertake training of same to ensure compliance and safety.

Searchable CTU Code for guidance

For eLearning of CTU Code provided by EXIS Technologies contact through comments.

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