Freight Container Regulations: What You Need To Know
Get smooth and reliable freight solutions. Our guide covers everything you need to know for smooth shipping. Stay informed and avoid delays.
Transporting your products randomly is a no-go. Rather than dispatch wares in just about any crate, you need to choose a specific shipping container. UK authorities have introduced a number of freight container regulations you need to follow to avoid hefty fines and legal issues.
This article will go through those regulations. We’ll tell you what constitutes a compliant cargo container.
Shipping Container UK Requirements
The only way to ensure your container transportation runs smoothly is to haul your wares in an approved freight container. But what exactly are the features of one such cargo shipping container?
Approved by the Health and Safety Executive
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the UK body that executes cargo container regulations. They’re also the authority that approves your unit. If you haven’t already done so, go to their website to find out how to receive a green light for your container.
In some cases, the HSE doesn’t directly approve containers for use. Instead, they may delegate the task to one of the organisations in their network. No matter who inspects your freight container, they’ll consider several vital factors, such as the materials and design of the unit. If everything checks out, you should be able to transport wares in your container.
Marked with Plates and Labels
Even if the HSE approves your shipment container, you’re not out of the woods yet. Customs officers and other professionals need to know your unit is compliant by simply looking at it.
That’s where special plates and labels come in.
Permanently attached to your cargo container, they demonstrate your unit is safe for transport. It proves the construction and design abide by HSE guidelines, enabling you to go through ports without major hold-ups.
Furthermore, plates and labels typically provide your container’s weight capacity. If you exceed this threshold, you risk damaging your products.
Maintained And Checked Regularly
Your container is robust, but it doesn’t last forever. Intense use, toxic materials, and other factors can damage the unit, making it less safe for shipping.
Thorough maintenance can help slow down this process, which is why the HSE requires you to incorporate it into your routine. Make sure your containers are free from cracks, gaps, indentations, and other forms of damage. Otherwise, you may need to pay penalties. The adverse effect this can have on your relationship with customers is even more severe.
In addition, your container must be inspected from time to time. The HSE can perform the check themselves or outsource the examination to a third party. Either way, if your unit is in great shape, you should receive an official confirmation it’s ready for shipping.
How To Maintain Your Cargo Shipping Container
The HSE has certified your unit, and your container transportation can finally start. However, you need to make sure it stays that way. We’ve hinted at the importance of maintenance, but how exactly do you keep your containers in good condition?
Here are a few tips.
Tip 1 – Stay On The Lookout For Dents
Suppose you’ve bought a used container. The HSE might have approved it for transportation, but chances are, the previous owner didn’t go easy on it. It may have been used to haul bulky items, some of which could have dented the roof or walls.
If your unit is damaged, a bit of patchwork with a maul might do the trick. If you’re afraid of causing further damage, hire a professional.
Tip 2 – Fix Peeling Paint
Sunlight exposure, bumps, drops, and scratches can peel the paint off your container. If an inspector finds out you’ve been hauling wares in this unit, high container freight rates won’t be your only problem. You may also incur an exorbitant penalty.
Why? Peeling paint invites corrosion. And rusty containers are nowhere near as durable as their intact counterparts.
To avoid adding fines to your container freight rates, consider spraying your unit with rustproof paint. It’ll help preserve the structural integrity of your container
Tip 3 – Look After The Door
Thankfully, shipping containers have few moving parts. But those that exist require detailed maintenance.
Pay special attention to the door. Dirt, dust, and debris tend to accumulate in any gaps between the door and the rest of the container. Left unchecked, they prevent the unit from operating smoothly and create friction, reducing the lifespan of the door.
Steel cleaners can save the day. Regularly applied, they keep contaminants at bay. You can also use a lubricant to grease up the hinges for an even smoother environment.
Moreover, don’t forget to replace tiny components after a certain period. For example, washers typically fail after a decade. If they’re on their last legs, replace them before they cause large-scale damage.
Tip 4 – Make Sure It’s Flat
Peeling paint isn’t the only thing that can corrode your cargo container. Moisture that builds up under the unit is also a major problem. This normally happens when the container is on an uneven surface that enables rainwater and snow to build up.
Therefore, avoid storing and transporting your container on bumpy ground. Flat surfaces are your best friend in your battle against rust.
Tip 5 – Disassemble Inadequate Modifications
Another issue associated with second-hand containers is modifications. The original owner might have adjusted the door, walls, or roof using improper materials or techniques.
They may have reduced the unit’s corrosion resistance or weight capacity in the process, requiring you to undo the installations.
That said, some containers are beyond repair. They often feature extensive modifications that can’t be reversed without undermining the structural integrity of the unit. Don’t buy such products.
Instead, look for brand-new containers from HSE-approved manufacturers. They follow the strictest safety standards and are free from modifications.
Keep Abreast of Shipping And Freight Container Regulations
HSE’s regulations might be stringent, but they’re fair. After all, the last thing you want is to transport your products in a damaged cargo container and risk disappointing your customers. Maintaining and replacing your fleet on time keeps this from happening.
Furthermore, be sure to keep up with any updates from the HSE. This way, you’ll ensure your containers remain compliant.
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