When you load containers on a ship, they look secure but once the ship is out at sea, the same may not hold true. Ships are subject to 6 different types of motion and in turn, so are the containers onboard the ship. If the containers are not lashed securely in place, they can slide around or jump up and down. Containers are typically loaded one on top of the other with the heaviest at the bottom and the lightest at the top.
So, even one container moving out of place could topple the entire stack. What you need to do is lash them securely and ensure that you use the right lashing materials. Why is this important – here are a few reasons.
Keep Cargo Secure
You could use a simple rope to lash the containers in place. While the ship is in the harbor, the rope would probably hold tight but can you say the same for when it’s out at sea? There are many different types of material used for lashing and each has its own pros and cons. You need to choose materials that can bear the weight of the container and keep it from moving even when subjected to strong forces for the entire duration of the journey.
When your containers aren’t lashed securely, they may move just a few inches out of place but this may cause the entire stack to fall. In extreme cases, this may mean losing containers to the sea. Once a container falls into the sea retrieving it is next to impossible. This is marked as a financial loss to the company who’s cargo is being transported as well as the shipper. The costs can add up to quite a bit and bite off a significant chunk of your operational costs. So, secure lashing with the right materials helps you minimize losses and maximize your profit margin.
Keep Your People Safe
Even container ships have a crew onboard. So, when you don’t use the right lashing material and your containers aren’t secure, they put not only the cargo in danger but also the people onboard the ships. People could get injured or worse still, if the container falls on a person, it could be fatal. This is bad for the company’s image and the trust employees have in the company.
Choosing the Right Material and Lashing Design
As illustrated in the above points, choosing the right material is critical. You need to simultaneously use the right lashing design. In terms of materials used to lash a container, you need to keep their weight bearing capacity in mind as well as their state. There should be no signs of wear and tear or anything else that increases the risk of the material breaking from strain. Like everything else, materials used for lashing too have a lifespan. This is another factor you must keep in mind.
Once you have access to the right materials, you must know how to use them. There are varied lashing patterns you may follow. Each direction of lashing holds the cargo secure form a specific type of movement. You may want to use a combination of lashing styles but you cannot use different types of materials when lashing in the same direction. This is important to note as each material has its own stretching capabilities and if one stretches more than the other, it could compromise the lashing strength.
For This Reason, It Is Always Best to Work with Professionals
As a layman, you may not understand the nuances of all the different types of lashing materials. The good news is that there are a number of companies that have experts specializing in this. They can help you select the right materials, inspect them and use them in the way they are supposed to be used. Look for lashing companies that have sufficient experience in lashing containers and a good safety record. Make sure you read testimonials and get reviews from past clients before you sign a contract. Remember your budget is important but it is better to pay a little over your budget to the company for its lashing services that face losses when your containers go overboard.