Fire-resistant carton wrap

After 4 years of development, PACT LLC has introduced ThermoShield, a paper-based, fire-resistant shipping carton wrap. The company describes the wrap as treated with a non-toxic moisture vapor coating that cools the interior of corrugated containers allowing the battery to burn itself out while protecting the other contents. Additionally, it restricts external oxygen supply and helps prevent any possible gases or fumes from escaping.

Lithium-ion batteries pose a self-igniting hazard during transportation and they have been the focus of regulations especially in the air mode. The ThermoShield has been tested in a Fire Laboratory in Oregon and by the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). The product will undoubtedly have to be approved by the principal aviation standard-making body, IATA (International Air Transport Association) as well as individual airlines.

Additional details are contained in the company’s website-

Impact on Port/Terminals

During the global pandemic marine operations are still functioning but those managing them are having to adapt their business models. According to a report based on research done by Navis, almost 9 in 10 of port/terminal operators are experiencing moderate or significant impact.

Based on data from 165 customers who responded to the survey safety on site (26%) and planning and managing a remote workforce (16%) were cited as top concerns. Other concerns are:

  • Cargo predictability (13%)
  • Project delays (12%)
  • Cargo storage (8%)
  • Infrastructure stability (8%)
  • Skills and/or resource shortage (8%)

More information on this study along with some rather useful infographics can be accessed at:

Pallets importance

Pallets are the workhorse of the supply chain performing their core functions- stacking, storing, protecting and transporting products. According to manufactures six trends to watch in 2020 are:

  • Cleaner, sanitized pallets: users are now concerned about hygiene and chain of custody. Engineered wood unit load devices are naturally clean and after the fabricating process also meet the ISPM-15 (“pest free”) international standard.
  • Made in the U.S.A: Covid-19 has accelerated companies’ preference to products made domestically.
  • Point-of-Purchase displays: pallets that can be moved from delivery trucks to the retail store floor. These can be seen in Big Box stores as well as supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl.
  • Pallets that support smaller formats such as a 42” x 30” skinnier one.
  • Sustainability: for example a switch to plastic pallets that can handle as many as 20 times the number of trips than the traditional wood pallet as well as a drive toward removing waste.
  • Carbon-neutral pallets: one company has produced a half-pallet (40” x 24”) that meets this criterion.

Long awaited motor carrier

The long-awaited motor carrier Hours-of-Service (HoS) final rule was issued by the U.S. DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in May. Here are the key revisions:

  1. It provides added flexibility for the 3-minute break by requiring it after 8 hours of consecutive driving and allowing for a driver to satisfy this time using on-duty not driving status rather than the driver having to be off-duty.
  2. The sleeper-berth exception now permits drivers to split their mandated 10 hours off duty into two separate periods either 8/2 or 7/3 split.
  3. Modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending up to 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is allowed.
  4. Changes the short-haul exemption by lengthening a driver’s maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 to 150 miles.

This rule, which has a 120-day implementation data, is expected to save $274 million per year in costs to the economy and consumers. The Administration noted that the ruling is the result of listening to stakeholders (not sure whether the insurance industry was directly involved) and will not increase driving time as it will continue to prevent commercial motor vehicle operators from driving more than 8 consecutive hours.

We are also uncertain if the changes were based on safety and accident data.

Mis-declared cargo

In a further effort to crack down on mis-declared cargo, Maersk Line will introduce a $500 fee for special and out-of-gauge cargo if the actual dimensions of the cargo differ from booking details. It has warned shippers that, beginning on July 1, the charge will be assessed even if the actual sizes differ from booked dimensions by as little as a few centimeters.

A customer advisory explains that, globally, it sees around 20% of all cargo with differing dimensions from the time of booking to actual cargo loading, with 6 percent causing issues “where it is either not safe or it is not operationally feasible to handle the shipment”.

The fee is the latest in a series of carrier efforts to clamp down on mis-declared cargo. Despite the implementation of the IMO verified gross mass (VGM) regulation, there are still plenty of incidents where the declared weight of a container is less than the actual weight. For example, Hapag-Lloyd just advised shippers in Senegal that it would begin to check every container weight, after it had “found several examples of VGM missing or misreported, either fraudulently or negligently.

The ocean carrier insists this is not a penalty per se but is introduced to cover all additional administrative efforts these cause, among others the re-quote, terminal checks for feasibility and costs, as well as documentation amendments.

Pharmaceutical logistics

DHL Global Forwarding and Air France KLM Martinair Cargo have collaborated to improve the pharmaceutical logistics chain, including implementing the ability to monitor temperature-sensitive deliveries and provide “full transparency for their shipments transported in temperature-controlled containers.

The two companies active in the air transport of pharmaceuticals have created a direct host-to-host connection to enhance the data reliability and availability for their customers with information about the shipment easily accessible and monitored via DHL’s LifeTrack Portal.

This enables shared temperature readings for active pharma solutions key to an industry sector where it is key to maintaining product integrity stability, efficacy and potency. At the present time, this service is provided at the airline’s largest life sciences hubs in Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris CDG. Based on this first proof of concept, the two companies have agreed to extend the rollout of active container temperature readings to all their main pharma network points.

The joint solution includes data throughout the shipment journey, including all important milestones and temperature checks for active containers such as those from CSafe and Envirotainer.

Last month, DHL and temperature controlled ULD (Unit Load Device in this case an air cargo refrigerated container) provider CSafe conducted a pilot shipment of pharmaceuticals from Puerto Rico to Kentucky, with subsequent surface transit to Chicago. CSafe had placed state-of-the-art tracking devices in the container, which allowed the forwarder to receive real-time data on location, temperature, ambient conditions, container tilt, door opening/closing events and humidity readings.

The data were fed to a cloud-based platform, to which CSafe support staff and customers have access around the clock.

The information for much of the content was taken from a number of public sources that, to the best of the undersigned’s knowledge, is accurate. The views expressed in this document should be regarded as the personal opinion of the undersigned and not necessarily of the Chubb.

If anyone wants additional information on any of the topics covered contact the authors.