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Container Procedures

Considerations when selecting a container include the characteristics of the cargo to be shipped, material handling capabilities, and means of transporting the container. Unit equipment is qualified for containerization based on interior container length requirements, door opening dimensions, and container weight capacities. Once the container is received by the unit, it should be inspected for holes, severe dents, faulty doors, damaged lifting points, and structural defects.

Containers must be inspected prior to being loaded (stuffed). During the exterior inspection insure that: identification marks are readable; welds are not broken, cracked or missing; top/bottom rails are not damaged; door frame is not cut, broken or distorted and that it's looking bar guides are serviceable; finally check that the roof panels are not corroded, dented or punctured. Essentially this is are checking to ensure that the container is serviceable in the areas of weather protection and security (that is, that the door can be properly secured).

Once the exterior inspection of the container has been completed, next comes the interior inspection. Ensure that the container's sides and roof don't have any holes or tears and that the floorboards are serviceable. A method of checking for holes in a container is to close the door, thereby blocking out the daylight - any holes in the container will now appear as little shafts of light. Obviously safety pertains that someone waits outside the container if someone if enclosed inside, to prevent the container being moved/sealed etc. Also check that the corner post are not dented, fractured or torn, as this will affect the structural reliability of the container. Check for rust, mold and mildew, as the presence of these conditions will potentially damage the cargo during transit. Finally check for general cleanliness - ensure that the container is swept out before it is stuffed. Essentially this is checking that the container will provide weather protection and not damage the cargo once it has been placed inside.

Units with deployment missions need to maximize the use of available organic transportation assets and reduce reliance on scarce support capabilities. While this seems simple enough, often this task is not given the attention it requires. Consequently the unit may spend a great deal of time trying to configure vehicle loads when alerted for deployment. This can delay your unit or result in subsequent problems when vehicle loads are inspected at the POEs. Additionally, improperly loaded vehicles can cause vehicle handling problems and result in accidents. The bottom line is that vehicle load planning is an important deployment preparation activity.

Commercial household-goods movers find the 'right place' for every item being moved, protect the shipment from internal load-shift damage, and always have documentation that shows the items loaded in the van. Without applying some of the same efficiencies to loading and documenting unit cargo, the Army could end up with damaged equipment and possible mission failure. The Unit Movement Officer [UMO] must understand how to plan and document vehicle cargo loads, and is responsible for monitoring and checking this process for the unit

The first step in developing a load plan is to determine how much cargo has to be loaded. Once this is known, the next step is to determine if there is enough available cargo space in organic vehicles. The primary factor in determining how much cargo space is needed is the volume of space required for items, in cubic feet. Historically, transportation assets cube out before they weigh out. An exception to cubing out space is dense cargo, such as ammunition. With dense cargo, a vehicle's weight limit is often reached before the cargo space is filled.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:42:33 ZULU