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Containers – check if the container is free from damage, load, check if the correct product is loaded and securely fastened, documents on load (if required) close and seal the container, ensuring all numbers are recorded on all the required documentation.  Containers will be lifted with container spreaders so weight must be carefully calculated to prevent damage to equipment.  Containers can also be positioned on a road trailer and taken over a road weighbridge to ensure it is within its weight constraints.  Under TAPA regulations GPS tracing devises can be placed inside a container and some devices can be remotely activated.

ISO tainers – check if the ISO tainer is free from other product, your product is compatible with the previous product, load, check if all valves are tight, seal and record all the numbers on the required documentation.  An ISO tainer can be transported on a skeleton trailer by road or by ship.  Normally an ISO tainer transport liquid or gas and will not normally be overloaded but it can also be placed on a road trailer and taken over a weighbridge to ensure it is within its weight constraints. GPS tracing devises can be placed on ISO tainers but it might not be very cost effective.

Road Transport – For road transport this will include an operator-vehicle-load match to ensure the driver is fit to drive the right combination best suited to the customer’s product, terrain to be travelled and offloading space restrictions/requirements.  Pre-start checklist focuses on roadworthiness of vehicle such as tyre tread depth, lights working etc.  Operational inspections such as brake tests, regular vehicle maintenance checks and repairs such as oil and air filter changes etc.  The vehicle load and positioning can be determined in a number of ways e.g. load sensors on the axles, taking the vehicle combination over a weighbridge or simply calculating weight using the weight of the bag/pallet and distributing it correctly over the axles etc.   Check for leaks, if tarpaulin is correctly fastened, if all load straps are right etc. especially if the load can be damaged when it gets wet like bags of packed sugar for example.  GPS monitoring can be in different forms, from the basic ‘switch on’ to track positioning once all other communication is lost, to ‘real time’ tracking where you can watch your truck & load move between point A and B on your cell phone/laptop.  Technology is also available whereby an on-board camera will send video footage, via satellite once activated in an accident or deliberately, to show a person thousands of kilometers away, the actual occurrence with only a little variance to real time.

Rail transport – the rail company is responsible to ensure the rail worthiness of equipment but on arrival at a loading siding visual inspections should be conducted to ensure hand brakes are working, tankers are not leaking, legal requirements such as pressure testing is valid etc.  Depending who will shunt, the rail company or the siding’s own loco, ensure correct positioning for loading.  After loading check for leaks, check if load is securely fastened etc., and record all seal and wagon numbers on the correct documentation.  Rail operations CTC offices monitor rail movement, trace rail wagons and containers but GPS tracking could be fitted as mentioned above under containers.

Air transport – normally a 1Ton container box will arrive, check if it is clean, load and follow the same as for container loading.  Depending on the product, an airline official might be present during loading and sealing to ensure the safety of the airline.  Ensure all clearing and forwarding documents are correct ready for the road transporter to collect and deliver to the airline where it will be weighed and placed in a ‘stack’ or holding area ready for the flight.  The documentation will be reviewed and other checks, depending on the two country’s legislation and agreements, could take place.  The airline will load the plane according to the plane’s loading diagram and carrying capacity and they will secure the load for takeoff, landing and turbulence that it might experience.  Airlines have very specific requirements and will very easily turn down a product based on air safety risk.  Smaller parcels can be handed in at the cargo section and will become part of a larger load.  Tracing and tracking will be done via the airline and once landed a tracking device could be fitted to track the rest of the product’s journey as mentioned above.

Sea transport – In the case of bulk liquid, it will be loaded either via pipeline, road tankers or rail wagons.  Normally the stevedores are responsible for all ship loading activities so they will check if all hoses and fittings/valves are compatible and free from damage and they will confirm responsibilities for connecting, opening valves, pumping, stopping etc. to ensure no spills or injuries occur. They will load based on volume and product SG calculations. In the case of solids this is normally done from rail wagon or road trailer positioned at the quayside of the ship from where the stevedores will do the lifting up and into the ship hull using either the ship’s lifting equipment or the harbour’s lifting equipment, as well as the securing of the load.  They take full responsible for the equipment and process and will complete all the required checks as required by that countries legislation and the shipping line requirements.  They will use available load documentation and load the ship based on space, load line, habour master and ship captain’s approval.  Ships are tracked via satellite and containers can be tracked as mentioned above.

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