• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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1,382 shipping containers lost at sea annually — Report

1,382 shipping containers are lost at sea each year — Report

The World Shipping Council (WSC) reported that an average of 1,382 containers are lost at sea each year. The figure is based on three-year averages calculated over 12 years, representing 80% of the global vessel container capacity. This was up until 2019.

Other estimates paint a more concerning picture, between Nov 2020 and Jan 2021 alone, 2,675 sea containers were lost at sea. The year 2021 witnessed the largest rise in lost shipping containers since 2013.

According to the World Shipping Council, in 2022, approximately 661 containers were lost at sea out of 250 million transported containers, marking the lowest loss percentage since their survey began in 2008.

While this improvement is positive, there’s no room for complacency, and efforts to reduce lost containers will persist. Safety remains paramount, as even a single lost container is unacceptable.

To provide context, the 661 lost containers represent less than one-thousandth of 1% (0.00048%) of the total containers shipped annually, a commendable rate given the cargo’s substantial value exceeding $7 trillion.

This includes cost-saving shortcuts and improper declaration of container weight. Additionally, inadequate packing and stowage planning within containers exacerbate the issue.

However, climate change has become a significant contributor to lost containers, alongside human error.

The Pacific Ocean’s changing weather patterns, especially in high-traffic areas like the China-US route, coupled with the strongest Northern Pacific winds since 1948, have led to containers becoming dislodged from ships and lost at sea.

These factors greatly increase the vulnerability of containers to storm damage. Consequently, many shippers attribute the primary cause to ship groundings and structural failures during stacking.

Despite current trends, the reduction of lost sea containers is not imminent. However, it’s important to note that losses suffered by shipping entities result in resource depletion rather than economic loss.

Fortunately, the implementation of stricter regulations suggests a decrease in lost container incidents in the future. Ship groundings or structural failures account for over 50% of lost containers, with each loss posing significant threats to marine life and habitats.

Recent incidents, like a ship breakdown releasing 6,000 pounds of sulphuric acid, underscore the potential environmental dangers of lost containers.