In a speech given to the Trans Middle East Conference in Qatar in May, Andrew Kemp, Regional Director EMEA of the freight transport insurance specialist TT Club, called for operators to do more to minimize the causes of incidents resulting in bodily injury, cargo and property damage.
Analysis of extensive TT Club data has shown that over 80% of insurance claims related to cargo handling at ports and terminals are the result of operational shortcomings or poor equipment maintenance. “It is clear,” emphasised Kemp, “that many of these incidents are avoidable if operators were to pay greater attention to some basic safety related processes and give a higher standard of training to their employees.”
In addition, the presentation to freight industry professionals from across the Middle East region stressed the economic validity of well-advised insurance cover. Kemp quoted from UK Health & Safety Executive research. “This national authority estimated that for every pound sterling spent on insurance there is between eight and thirty-six pounds of costs incurred through the consequences of uninsured incidents. These expenses cover such outgoings as emergency supplies, reputational damage, operational delays and increased maintenance and training requirements after the event, let alone the costs of management time,” he highlighted.
The analysis of a total of over 9,500 claims, carried out by the Club on data received over the past seven years, showed that a low percentage, just 5%, were caused by weather or similar natural causes. The vast majority came as a result of much more avoidable causes – a quarter being due to poor maintenance of property or equipment and some 66% down to failures in some facet of the operation.
Much can be learned from the analysis of these operational issues. Kemp stated, “We found that over a half of incidents involved the internal systems and processes of the operator and another quarter were due to theft. These types of claim are most assuredly to be placed in the category of preventable,” he said.
Terminal and cargo handling facility operators are therefore strongly urged to employ effective monitoring and checking procedures, a regular training regime and to maintain industry best practice for safety and security. The conference presentation exemplified a number of situations where a lack of traffic flow systems and speed limits, allowing people into operational areas and use of inferior spare parts on lifting equipment (to name just a few examples) regularly caused damage and injury.
As a result TT Club can, and frequently does, offer effective advice on loss prevention and risk management. “Prevention can be successfully achieved via a combination of safe and physically secure facilities and equipment, rigorous checks and double-checks on safety procedures, combined with well-trained, well-motivated employees and trusted partners,” concluded Kemp.