CONTAINER HANDLING AND LABELING
13-1. INTRODUCTION. To gain full advantage of containership operations, the container must be moved efficiently, speedily, and safely through the terminal. This is accomplished by using special handling equipment and proper labeling. The type of handling and lifting equipment varies from terminal to terminal. The container storage method used, the modes serving the terminal, and the overall layout of the terminal storage area all determine the type of equipment used. The design of a new terminal is often determined by the type of handling equipment to be used as well. (The handling and lifting equipment described in this chapter was selected as typical of the many models available. However, its selection does not indicate Army endorsement.)
13-2. STRADDLE CRANES. Straddle cranes are self-propelled gantry cranes which move on rubber tires or rails. They may straddle from one to six railroad tracks while loading and unloading containers and piggyback trailers. Both the tire and rail-mounted types are highly versatile. They are capable of lifting up to 50 tons, moving through narrow aisles, and spotting containers in specific locations throughout the storage yard. Many have the capacity for stacking containers two and three high. The lifting device used on the straddle crane is usually a universal lifting spreader that fits into special lifting slots at the top of the container. The spreader may fit completely underneath the container. The two straddle cranes shown in Figure 13-1 are mounted on rubber tires, although some straddle cranes are mounted on rails. Both cranes are shown in a piggyback operation. Each has a skewing trolley which permits them to move in a straight line or at an angle.
13-3. STRADDLE TRUCKS. Straddle trucks are similar to straddle cranes. However, they are smaller than straddle cranes and are limited to straddling one container. These trucks pick up one container from a stack in the storage area and move it alongside the vessel. The straddle truck has more speed and maneuverability than the straddle crane. It may either lift the container from the top with the universal spreader or from the bottom with lifting arms.
13-4. DOCKSIDE CONTAINER CRANES. Dockside cranes for handling containers are designed for quick loading and unloading. This greatly reduces the time a containership must spend in port. By using these cranes, ship turnaround time has been reduced from 110 to 40 hours in some instances. There are restrictive limitations peculiar to each terminal. Therefore, the design of a particular dockside crane depends on the requirements of the terminal served. Figure 13-2, shows a typical dockside 40-ton capacity container crane, capable of handling containers at the rate of one per minute.
Figure 13-2. Common dockside container crane
13-5. SHIPBOARD CONTAINER CRANES. When ports of discharge do not have pierside cranes of sufficient size and design to discharge non-self-sustaining containerships, a shipboard system must be used. This system is used by commercial contractors on shuttle ships to unload cargo in ports not equipped with pierside container cranes. One disadvantage in using a shipboard crane system is that it limits the size of the deck load the vessel can carry. The crane must be able to travel the length of the load without hitting the container tops.
a. Figure 13-3A shows a crane with a hinged girder extension that has a 17 LTON capacity and a 10-foot load outreach. The offshore boom can be raised to help compensate for the list of the vessel in port. The booms fold down for compact stowage when not in use. Cranes of this type are used in the LASH system.
b. Another type of crane features a short wheelbase, fold-back girders and a rotating trolley (Figure 13-3B). Unlike the crane shown in Figure 13-3A, this crane loads and unloads off the ship's stern. This crane can handle fully loaded lighters on and off the ship at an average rate of one every 15 minutes. The crane weighs 475 tons and is operated by one man. It can handle fully loaded lighters in seas as high as 8 feet.
13-6. LABELING AND HANDLING OF CONTAINERS. Cargo handles must know the actual weight of each loaded container (payload plus tare weight). National and international regulations covering packaging, labeling compatibility, and manifesting of hazardous goods must also be followed when loading and documenting containerized shipments. Responsible personnel will apply one label of the type prescribed by the United Nations for individual packages within the container to the outside rear of the container. The shipment date must be clearly shown.
a. Responsible personnel will ensure the concentration of weight if any 10 linear feet does not exceed 25,000 pounds or the maximum allowable load, whichever is less. The load must be supported on beams of sufficient strength and length to meet these requirements.
b. The address markings tell where the shipment is coming from and where it is going. Cargo address markings are required on all items being shipped overseas or in CONUS. An exception to this is when the shipment consists of a full truckload shipped by a consignor to a single CONUS consignee. The method of applying the address depends on the type of container and the transportation priority of the shipment. The two methods used are labels and stencils.
c. Labels are preprinted stickers that are applied to the package to be shipped. Shipping labels are used on boxes, crates, drums, and other containers when practical.
d. Stencils are used when space or material surface permits, and when the shipment has a low transportation priority that does not require an expedited handling label. Stencils are locally produced address markings that are normally made by punching out alphanumeric characters on stencil paper using a stencil-cutting machine. The stencil is placed against the crate and painted over. The stencil is then removed, leaving clear block letters on the crate.
e. Regardless of whether a stencil or label is used for the shipment address marking, the format and the information contained in the address markings are basically the same. Figure 13-4 shows a completed DD Form 1387.
Figure 13-4. Completed DD Form 1387
13-7. SPECIAL MARKINGS. In addition to address markings, many items transported with special markings give personnel who are handling, moving, or storing the freight various precautionary warnings or special handling instructions. Some special markings are required by CFRs 46 and 49, International Maritime Dangerous Goods Codes, and MIL-STD-129. Other markings are added at the discretion of the shipper.
a. Hazardous Material. So that personnel can easily identify hazardous cargo, each of the 14 hazardous commodity classifications has a distinctly colored label. Cargo that requires a hazardous material label is referred to as "label cargo." The labels are overstamped or overprinted with the appropriate United Nations class number located in the bottom corner of the label as required on MILSTAMP documentation. Refer to Appendix B for a complete description of all hazardous cargo labels.
b. Precautionary and Special Handling Instructions. In addition to the colored hazardous cargo labels, various other precautionary warnings and handling instructions are put on the outside of containers and items of equipment when special handling is required. For some types of cargo and under certain shipping conditions, these warning and handling instructions are required by government regulatory agencies, federal laws, or military regulations. In other cases, the markings are applied only for the purpose of protecting the fragile or sensitive contents of a container from damage that could be caused by improper handling or storage. During cargo transfer operations, cargo checkers should watch for these markings and bring them to the attention of the cargo handlers when an item is being improperly handled or stored.
(1) Fragile. Containers packed with delicate or fragile articles are marked FRAGILE in at least three locations. Red-bordered fragile labels may be used, or the word FRAGILE, the fracture symbol, and a red border may be stenciled or printed on the container (Figure 13-5). When containers are marked with precautionary markings (GLASS--DO NOT DROP OR THROW, GLASS--HANDLE WITH CARE), the FRAGILE marking is not required.
(2) Arrows. Many items moving in the DTRS must be shipped, handled, and stored in an upright position in order to reduce the possibility of leakage or damage. The shipping containers for these types of items are marked on at east two sides with an arrow and the word UP to indicate the top surface of the container.
(3) Center of Balance. Cargo-handling operations involving the lifting of vehicles and other equipment are extremely dangerous when performed in an improper manner. Since the physical characteristics of different types of equipment vary, shippers usually provide instructions on where to attach lifting slings on unboxed equipment and indicate the location of the center of balance on large or unbalanced containers. The lifting points on unboxed vehicles are marked with a 1-inch-wide line on both sides of the container, and the words CENTER OF BALANCE are stenciled or printed above or alongside the line (Figure 13-6).
(4) Use No Hooks. Hand-held bag hooks are sometimes used by cargo handlers to move cloth-wrapped bundles or bales. Since the use of these hooks on items such as burlap-wrapped tarpaulins or clothing will result in damage, the legend USE NO HOOKS and a hook symbol with an X over the symbol (Figure 13-7) are stenciled on two sides of the bundle when use of hooks is prohibited.
NOTE: MIL-STD-129 emphasizes that special handling markings are to be used only on those items actually requiring such handling.
c. Commodity Category Markings. In addition to other nomenclature and identification markings, MIL-STD-129 provides for color marking symbols for different commodities of supplies and equipment being shipped overseas. With the exception of medical supplies, these color marking symbols are used only when specified by a military department. This additional marking requirement usually occurs only when a large volume of supplies and equipment is being shipped in support of combat operations. The application of color marking symbols for medical supplies being shipped to overseas units is required at all times. When the commodity color marking symbols are used, a cargo checker who knows the different colored symbols can determine the type of cargo in a container at a glance. This system is extremely helpful when supplies are being sorted by commodities or when a priority requirement exists for a specific item.
(1) Category symbols ant label colors. When personnel are required to color-code cargo, they use special colored labels with black symbols (Table 13-1). The labels measure 3 by 3 inches to 10 by 12 inches depending upon the size of the container.
(2) Marking requirements. Except for MILVANs and SEAVANs, four-color marking symbol labels are applied to each rectangular shipping container. Responsible personnel will place one label on each side, one on an end, and one on top (Figure 13-8). When a container, palletized load, or transporter consists of two or more commodities, the labels are put only on the interior containers. Responsible personnel will apply labels to MILVANs or SEAVANs under any condition.
Table 13-1. Categories and symbol labels
Figure 13-8. Proper label placement
(3) Exceptions. The color marking symbol labels are not used on the following categories of cargo:
(a) Major unpacked items that are easily recognizable, such as vehicles, artillery pieces, or boats.
(b) Explosives and other dangerous articles that are marked with the distinctive color labels. Federal statutes and military regulations forbid the use of additional colored labels.
(c) Perishable and nonperishable subsistence items (except items for resale) which are always identified (Figure 13-9) by stenciling or printing a solid black crescent on the shipping container.
13-8. SECURING OF CONTAINERS. After each container has been stuffed, responsible personnel will ensure that-
- The doors have been securely closed and are watertight.
- A seal has been placed on the container.
- The seal number has been recorded, and the shipping documents and the proper markings have been placed on the container in accordance with MILSTAMP.
a. The modern, fully cellularized containership requires no container lashing under deck. The cell structure stops the container from moving. An exception to this may occur in some vessels where two 20-foot containers are stowed, in tandem, in a 40-foot cell. In some cases it may be necessary to install stacking cones at each level to lock the containers in position. The cell guides for the 40-foot container will hold one end of the 20-foot container, but where they butt against each other in the middle there may not be any restraining structure. Stacking cones or bridge fittings must be used.
b. Most of the new ships employ a locking-type stacking cone for on-deck stowage. The cone secures the bottom container to the deck or hatch cover, or locks each container above to the one below. With this system, it is normally permissible to stow containers two-high on deck without installing deck lashings. When containers are stowed three-high, additional cross lashings are installed from the bottom corners of the second tier of containers with no lashings on the third tier. When stowed four-high, additional cross lashings are installed on the fourth tier. Figure 13-10 illustrates two types of container lashing equipment. The tensioners/wire assemblies use a wire lashing fitted with multiple washers which set the proper length for tensioning. The rigid rods are tensioned with a turnbuckle. The turnbuckles have removable tensioning wheels, as shown. Many vessels still use stacking cones between containers. These cones will keep the containers from shifting from side to side but are unable to restrain any lifting or tipping movement. As a result, it is necessary to lash these containers to the deck even when stowed one-high. Figure 13-11, shows locking-type and single and double stacker-type cones.
c. Lashing systems are constructed primarily of chain or steel rod; the latter has become more prevalent. The steel rod system is a rigid lashing system with no give once it is set tight with a turnbuckle. The rigidity permits installation by a person standing at deck level; there is no need to climb a ladder to insert the securement hook or plug fittings, as is the case with wire lashings. Chains are also used in container lashings, either singly or in conjunction with wire lashings. Tensioning devices include turnbuckles, wire tensioners, and chain tensioners. Figure 13-10 shows the rod lashing system for containers. Bridge fittings are still used on some vessels, but their use has gradually been eliminated. Bridge fittings are used on the top of the top tier of containers to secure two adjacent containers to each other. Regardless of the lashing system used, it is normally an integrated system designed for use on a particular vessel and must be used in the manner prescribed.
d. Unless other special arrangements are made, twist locks or similar devices are used to secure all four bottom corner fittings. Figure 13-12 shows a container secured to a truck and an example of a locking device.
e. Sometimes lashings are used as a substitute for or in addition to twist locks on the decks of LCUs, LCMs, or LARCs. The rolling of these vessels can exert severe strains on containers. When lashing is used, it is done from all top corner fittings of the containers if they are sitting on top of dunnage on deck, or from all bottom corner fittings if they are sitting on MILVAN chassis. In either case, the lashings may or may not be crisscrossed, depending on the deck fittings or space available. If not crisscrossed, the lashing should extend off the sides of the chassis container. These techniques provide good protection against upward, side-to-side, forward, and rear movement (Figure 13-13).
Figure 13-13. Container lashing methods
f. The proper securement of any cargo on a vessel is the responsibility of the chief mate and the master and must be performed to their satisfaction. However, the securement of containers has become an established procedure on most containerships. The stress imposed on the containers, securement points, and fittings has been calculated by engineers to ensure that all components will withstand the loads imposed upon them under almost every sea and weather condition encountered by the vessel. As a result, the ship's officers need only to inspect the lashings to make certain they have been installed properly.
g. Container stowage follows a basic pattern. Except in the case of refrigerated containers, the doors of containers stowed on deck should face aft. This protects the doors from direct exposure to the weather and the sea. While the direction of the door may be immaterial below deck, it is best to follow a set pattern to prevent possible mistakes when on-deck loading commences. Reefer containers usually must be stowed with the reefer unit facing aft and the doors forward, since the electrical power unit on the reefer container is highly susceptible to water damage and short circuiting. The electrical outlets on the vessel are usually located aft of the hatches to permit easy access for plugging in the containers.
13-9. LIFTING OF CONTAINERS. The lifting methods are as follows:
- Vertical lift, using twist locks.
- Rectangular spreader with pendant hooks or shackles, which apply vertical lifting force.
- A bridle arrangement having a long beam the length of the container with the pendant hooks or shackles applying a vertical lift to the corner fittings.
a. Top Lift. Top corner fittings are the recommended lifting points for all types of containers which have them. The equipment should, therefore, be designed for lifting from, and be properly attached to, these fittings.
(1) Operators will use only the following types of equipment in lifting containers 20 feet or more in length:
(2) Operators should be aware that containers are not built to withstand lifting while coupled unless four-point engagement is used. For example, all four top corner fittings are used as lifting points in Figure 13-14. Operators should ensure that hooks and shackles do not damage corner fittings.
Figure 13-14. Top corner fittings for lifting containers
b. Bottom Lifting. Operators may lift containers by the bottom corner fittings, using hooks or special attaching devices, only under two conditions.
(1) The first condition is when sling legs are connected to one or two lateral spreaders (above the roof line of the container) with sufficient width to prevent the sling legs from making contact with the container. Sling legs must be long enough so that the angle of the leg is not less than 60 degrees from the horizontal.
(2) The second condition is when attachment devices are designed so that the lifting force is not exerted more than 1 1/2 inches away from the face of the corner fitting. Figure 13-15 shows container bottom lifting techniques.
Figure 13-15. Bottom lifting techniques
c. Other Methods. Containers handled by any method other than lifting from the corner fittings must have special features, such as forklift pockets, recesses for straddle carriers, or grapple holds.
(1) Forklift truck. Operators should ensure that forks extend the whole width of the container. The load capacity of the truck should be enough to handle the container. Never use two forklift trucks, either side by side or one at either end, to lift or move a container.
(2) Straddle carriers. Do not attempt to lift or move a container with a straddle carrier (Figure 13-16) unless the container has the appropriate recesses along the bottom.
Figure 13-16. Straddle carrier
(3) Grapple lift. Operators must ensure that proper recesses are available and used on the lifted containers.
d. Stacking Precautions. Operators often stack containers on piers, in transfer facilities, or in other storage areas. Proper safety precautions are also required here to prevent accidents and damage. When stacking, operators should pay particular attention to the proper alignment of top and bottom corner fittings of the containers. When putting a container on the ground or pier in a terminal area, operators will ensure that a firm, flat, level surface is provided so that the container can be supported by its four bottom corner fittings. There must be no projections on the landing surface which could possibly dunnage the bottom structure of the container.
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