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Marine Forklifts 2 – Safe Dockside Cargo Handling

Posted by: admin on November 19, 2013

Marine Forklifts 2 – Safe Dockside Cargo Handling

In our last marine forklift blog, we barely scratched the surface of the special handling techniques necessary to avoid shipping containers bouncing around the deck of a ship in a serious storm. We introduced the special types of forklift used dockside and on the ship itself. We talked about when to use grapplers and when it is not safe to do so. We talked about the management of transporting two containers together.


We still have a few things to tell you about safely managing cargo containers. But first, a word or two about lashing. Inadequate lashing, securing of cargo, is responsible for one-quarter of cargo accidents. Failed lashing can cause loss of cargo, loss of vehicles, loss of life or environmental hazards. However, you don’t want to go too nuts with the lashing, either. Lashing should only be lightly tightened with a spanner (wrench). This is because the lashing used is already pre-tensioned. Over-tightening can cause excessive loading on the containers that may cause damage during the pitching and rolling on stormy seas.

Slings and Brothers

You don’t want to lift a loaded container using slings and brothers, or any other non-vertical apparatus unless it is designed to cope with the compressive forces that will result. You can get around this if someone who knows what they are doing has adequately assessed the forces involved, the handling method, the strength of the container and the system of work.

Working With Bottom Corner Castings

In most cases, containers can be hoisted from bottom corner castings by using a transverse lifting beam. The load should be secured at all four corners and lifted vertically using chains and cables. The center of gravity should be directly beneath the suspension point. In other cases, use a full-size lifting frame with vertical wire or twist locks.

Obviously, if it were all this simple, maritime insurance premiums would be lower than they are. We hope we have covered some of the basic techniques and equipment used on the dock side and hopefully stimulated a few useful thoughts.

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