New online portal streamlines hazardous documentation management for shipping lines


APM Terminals has designed a new online portal to simplify the process of managing hazardous cargo documentation for shipping lines. The first iteration of the new global tool reduces the number of steps needed to complete the important safety task. Auto-completion and dropdown fields with standard IMDG terminology add clarity, speed, and reduce the risk of errors.

Known as the Hazardous Documentation Vault (HazDV), it streamlines the documentation process and contributes to data management as well as safety standards.

Approximately 60 million TEU containers are shipped around the globe each year, of which around six million contain hazardous cargo. Such cargo poses an increased risk of severe incidents if not handled correctly – including items containing lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries – the number of which has sharply increased in recent years.

A study by the National Cargo Bureau carried out together with Maersk, Hapag Lloyd and MSC found that 55% of inspected containers were non-compliant, 43% of containers failed due to poorly secured dangerous goods and 6.5% were found to be carrying goods that had been mis-declared by the cargo owner. This is often caused by a lack of knowledge of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. APM Terminals’ HazDV carries out a number of logic checks to ensure that the correct IMDG codes have been applied, so mistakes in documentation are identified.

Information provided about hazardous cargo to our Ports and Terminals is essential for our Health, Safety and Resilience teams to prepare for emergencies, yard planning/segregation, cross checking in our Terminal Operating System or Export Arrival Lists. In addition, the information is used to ensure compliance with local regulations, (for example, certain categories that must remain in the terminal only for a limited period). The HazDV speeds up and simplifies this information flow.

Mis-declarations can have a significant impact on Terminal Operations and ultimately customers supply chains, such as truck delays due to issues during the gate-in process. Incorrect declarations also increase the risk of accidents in the terminal yard due to unsafe storage practices, and the increased potential for accidents involving carriers due to unsafe stowage.

APM Terminals’ HazDV has already been rolled out at the company’s US terminals in Port Elizabeth, Mobile, and Miami. As with other APM Terminals global digital solutions, it can be quickly rolled out to other Ports and Terminals – with plans for four further terminals in the coming months.

This recent implementation means 388 shipping line users across the three terminals can securely declare hazardous containers via 24/7. Customers can use their existing single APM Terminals login, which is also used for Terminal Alerts, Shipping Line Dashboard and other global solutions.