APL Declares Refrigerated Container Fleet Safe
Global container shipping line APL today declared its refrigerated container fleet safe and announced new precautions to prevent equipment mishaps.
The declaration followed reports this week from competitors that at least four of their refrigerated containers exploded during 2011.
“We have reviewed our inspection records and procedures and are fully confident that our refrigerated containers are safe and in cargo-worthy condition,” said Eric Eng, Vice President of APL’s Global Refrigerated Trade. “But to allay concerns, we are adding new certification requirements, stepping up our inspection program and strengthening maintenance procedures.”
APL said the measures include:
- Certifying that refrigerant used in all its reefer containers meets the specifications of equipment manufacturers;
- Grounding approximately 100 refrigerated boxes for detailed inspection; and
- Placing new restrictions on where the containers can undergo refrigerant system repair.
APL operates approximately 53,700 refrigerated containers. The carrier said there have been no explosions or other catastrophic malfunctions in its fleet.
According to reports, at least two other shipping lines have reported refrigerated container explosions this year. One reportedly identified contaminated refrigerant gas as the cause.
Accounts traced the faulty containers to repair vendors in Vietnam where all had undergone maintenance. APL said it does not use those vendors. It added that it has a strict certification program to ensure compliance with safe-handling procedures and the use of authorized refrigerants.
As a precaution, APL said it has suspended reefer maintenance work in Vietnam. It will send boxes to other locations for repairs. It has taken out of service all 103 boxes that underwent refrigeration system repairs in Vietnam during 2011.
APL said it will continue to conduct pre-trip inspections of every box in its refrigerated container fleet. Inspections include plugging in refrigerated units four hours before dispatching to customers. The boxes are monitored during that time to ensure safe operation.