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Safe Container Loading

Containers carried by rail need to be “safe”. What does “safe” mean? This page explains – please read on!

Weightthe gross weight of the container must not be greater than that stated on the FreightArranger booking.
Balancethe goods inside the container must be stowed so that the weight is evenly distributed over the length and width of the container.
Secure Stowagethe goods inside the container must be held in place using for example the internal lashing points so that the goods do not move during transit and the container remains balanced.
Dangerous Goodscontents which are classified as Dangerous Goods must be declared as such and the UN code entered on the FreightArranger enquiry.

More detailed guidance can be obtained from the International Maritime Organisation at DSC 18/8.

The reason for the rules on container weight is that railway wagons and the cranes which load them are subject to safe working loads which can be exceeded if the container is heavier than declared on the FreightArranger booking.

The reason for the rules on balance and stowing goods so that they cannot move in transit is that railway vehicles are sprung and uneven loads cause the wagon to tilt sideways, or fore and aft, or both. There are potentially serious consequences of the wagon tilting: sideways tilt can bring the container into contact with railway structures such as bridges; fore and aft tilt can cause the buffers to under or over-ride the buffers on the next wagon leading to derailment.

FreightArranger is unable to check or inspect the containers prior to transit, so the responsibility for safe loading and reporting of gross weight rests with you, the consignor.