What is a CSC Plate?
With the surge in shipping container use during the 1960s, the need for a standardised safety protocol became crucial. This led to the creation of the International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC). The CSC plate on each container signifies adherence to these important safety standards.
This initiative, established by the International Maritime Organisation and the United Nations, aimed to ensure safe handling, stacking, and transportation of shipping containers globally. Its purpose was to protect those handling the containers and to provide a set of universally agreed-upon regulations, enhancing safety in the worldwide movement of containers.
The CSC Plate
Is attached to the rear of the container & gives basic information about the container:
- The Approval Reference is the reference that is supplied by the Underwriter such as Bureau Veritas, Lloyds Register of Shipping, American Bureau of Shipping, etc. they will have vetted the drawings of the container prior to production and supplied this number as an acceptable reference.
- The Date of Manufacture.
- The Container Identity Number which is issued by the buyer although recently this may also include the manufacturers batch sequence number with the owner’s number placed elsewhere on a larger plate.
- The Gross Weight maximum allowed when loaded.
- The Stacking Weight.
- The amount of weight the container is built to carry on top of it in a stack.
- Racking Values the amount of transverse distortion under load.
- Either be an ACEP NUMBER (if it’s an ex Shipping Line Container) or date of next examination due by.
The purpose of regular surveys is to ensure that damage has not reduced the containers original manufactured properties, corrosion, missing parts, wear & tear etc. That the container, despite its in-service use, is still capable of being lifted and carrying the amount of cargo safely it was designed to carry without impairment to handlers, or public safety, or a hazard to other containers, vessels or road & train vehicles.
Survey & Surveyor
The surveyor will need to inspect all aspects of the container, That’s all four sides, the underside and the roof, also the entire interior. Special attention is paid to the End Frame structures, Corner Posts, Corner Castings, Headers, Cills, Bottom and Top Rails. All of which must be, without deformation, depleting corrosion and all welds must be sound and not show signs of stress or fracture. Panels are a Secondary feature and may have some small acceptable indentations but no dents are interfering with the ISO dimensions of the container. The Interior should be clean and the floor visible for inspection. The surveyor should have a Maritime Shipping Container Inspectors Accreditation, (Lloyds, Bureau Veritas, IICL) a Professional Indemnity & Public Liability Insurance.
ACEP (Approved continuous examination program)
To administer and physically carry out survey’s every 30 months on a fleet of several hundred thousand in-service shipping containers would be virtually impossible, so the International Convention for Safe Containers created a scheme whereby contracting shipping lines agreed that each and every time an empty container was restituted after use, it would placed into a depot that would carry out at point of gate entry anywhere in the world, a survey of the container by an operative qualified to ascertain the containers structural soundness. The CSC Plate will have the ACEP registration number of that shipping line engraved into the CSC plate; it is not transferable to any other Shipping Line or any subsequent buyers of the container.
Certificate of survey
This is written confirmation by an accredited body that the container has been surveyed and that it meets CSC specifications Annex 1 Chapter 1, Regulation 2 of the International Convention for Safe Containers and is in the surveyor’s opinion at the time of survey a Cargo worthy container.
Periodic examination scheme (PES)
This is the scheme that is designed for small fleet or single container ownership. Every Container over five years of age must have a physical survey to ascertain its ability to continue safely being used as a means of transporting cargo, or, that it is safe to be lifted and be included in stack situations with in-fleet containers without detriment to personnel or other equipment. Certification is limited to a maximum of thirty months during which time the owner or lessee must continue to ensure that the container is maintained in a safe and serviceable condition. Containers that are converted to a use other than cargo carrying that can still be regarded as ISO units and is being also shipped must have this certification
This is a term given to a single or small multiple of containers that are not owned by the shipping line transporting the container and they are usually booked passage by a third party Freight Forwarder. The responsibility for the structural soundness of a shippers own container is entirely the owners and while shipping & handling any damage incurred is the owner’s responsibility to ensure it is repaired to a CSC standard even if it’s caused by and attributed to another party.
These are the letters and numbers on the container. The identification Number has 4 Alpha Letters & 7 Digits and is displayed on all four sides and twice on the roof (one Each End)Further to this are the ISO Decals which denote the size & type of container, these are displayed on four sides only. On the left hand and right-hand sides are the UiC decals that confirm it is fit for rail transportation. On the rear, usually the right-hand door, the weight decal showing clearly the Max Gross Weight allowable for the container and the tare weight. As aforementioned the CSC plate is also affixed to one of the doors at a height that a person standing on the floor can read it while the container is on a lorry.
This adheres to the CSC plate and advises at what date the container MUST BE re-examined by. The sticker is not a certificate of cargo worthiness it’s just an indicator to quayside inspectors & handlers that the container has been examined and the due date of the next examination. The Container must not be used without this being updated and you need to ensure that the due date is higher than the containers intended journey.
It Is the owner’s Full responsibility to ensure the container is maintained in a safe and serviceable condition at all times, even after a recent certification!
Helpful reading See http://www.hse.gov.uk/ports/publications.htm#pes