A Case Study on Improving Safety Protocols for a Fast-Growing Shipping Company

In a sector where safety and precision are paramount, an emerging shipping company faced the imperative of establishing a well-organized system to manage dangerous goods (DG) and prevent the mislabeling of cargo as non-DG. Any such oversight not only posed grave safety hazards to the ship and its crew but also threatened the surrounding environment. Confronted with these challenges, the Line Management sought a comprehensive screening solution encompassing in-house policy, adherence to International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) regulations, and compliance with port, terminal, and other pertinent trade regulations.

Moreover, there was a pressing need for a process enhancement workflow model to mitigate the risks associated with improperly loaded cargo on vessels. Such mishaps could compromise safety, incur severe penalties, and lead to the suspension of vessel or container operations at a port. Both the Line Management and vessel owners were in pursuit of a program that could accurately identify, handle, and transport cargo while emphasizing safety and environmental preservation. This program would also provide the load plan master with crucial IMDG regulatory notifications for screened cargo, ensuring a seamless and compliant operational framework.


Based on the requirements, the team worked to come up with a solution that would overcome the challenges being faced.

Dangerous Goods (DG) Handling:

  • The DG Team processes all bookings for DG shipments in adherence to IMDG regulations and the line’s in-house policy.
  • The DG Team informs the agent or customer about the necessary classification, packaging, labeling, cargo securing, and documentation required for DG shipments to ensure smooth handling, fewer errors, and minimized shipping delays, in accordance with Container Transport Unit (CTU) guidelines and IMDG regulations.
  • The DG Team ensures compliance with all port regulations based on booking/routing, and obtains the necessary approvals for shipments, refusing to load cargo until clear confirmation is received from port terminals.
  • The DG Team provides segregation recommendations within the container by verifying the compatibility of mixed cargo.
  • The DG Team reviews the liner’s DG partner’s policies and Vessel Sharing Agreements (VSAs) before granting any approvals to the agents.
  • The DG Team collaborates with Network agents in a single integrated digitized workflow on a shared platform using Power App to manage DG requests, clarifications, and approvals.
  • The DG Team maintains a master data system to ensure alignment between in-house policy, IMDG regulations, port regulations, and any restrictions imposed by partner carriers.

Non-Dangerous Goods Handling:

  • The team initiates the process by reviewing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and other pertinent documents, cross-referencing them with international regulations and the shipping line’s policies to determine the correct classification of the cargo as either dangerous goods (DG) or non-dangerous goods (non-DG).
  • Upon a thorough review of the documentation, the team informs the customer or agent about the cargo classification.
  • Certain cargo may be cleared for transport as non-DG, based on special provisions in the IMDG regulations, provided all necessary supporting documents are in place for accurate classification.
  • The team offers recommendations for safer stowage positions for the cargo on board the vessel to ensure optimal safety.
  • The team maintains a chemical repository list to effectively classify commodities as either DG or non-DG.
  • The team collaborates with Network agents using a shared digital platform, Power App, to streamline the submission and approval of Non-DG requests and clarifications.


Through the meticulous regulation of the complex DG/Non-DG approval program, the following outcomes were achieved:

  • Ensured enhanced safety of the crew and successful prevention of environmental pollution, showcasing our commitment to responsible operational practices.
  • With quicker turnaround over the past six months, there has been a significant increase in shipments, with a growth of 730% in non-DG cargo and 360% in DG cargo.
  • Our globally-aligned solution expedited the approval and confirmation process, reducing the average response time to 12 hours for DG shipments and 9 hours for non-DG shipments.
  • Through experience and learning from past incidents, our in-house policies have continually improved, enabling ongoing enhancements in safety.
  • Ensured the safe, cost-effective, and timely transportation of DG cargo.
Improving Safety Protocols


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