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Now that the debate on verification of declared container weights appears to have run its course with the recent vote in the International Maritime Organization, attention is turning to the issue of how the goods in containers are packed, an issue that specialist freight insurer TT Club, writing in Hazardous Cargo Bulletin, believes could be more significant. Around 65% of its claims relate to damaged cargo, and of these, over 33% are the result of poor packing, a figure backed up by container line figures. There seems to be little understanding on land about the forces that boxes are subjected to on the high seas: “Consider that a domestic washing machine goes through about 6,000 movements in a typical wash cycle. A transatlantic voyage on a containership may put cargo through some 160,000 similar movements.”

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