In today’s arena, the maritime industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. It employs the use of a large number of freight containers with the extensive help of manpower. This makes it quite imperative that the container logistics process must be safe to use. But what makes the maritime containers cargo worthy? This is where CSC Plate certification comes into play.

ISO Shipping containers need to be allotted stand CSC plates to ensure the users of their safety. When Malcolm Mclean revolutionized the entire shipping industry with the introduction of intermodal container trading, container safety was not one of his primary concerns. As there was no institution or body to regulate the safety concerns of freight logistics, it was a herculean task to keep safety issues in check. But over time, as shipping containers gained an indispensable role in keeping up with the global demand and supply chain, it became quintessential to prioritize people’s safety concerned with container trading.

This led to a battery of research tests for the safety of containers which in turn led to the foundation of the CSC- convention for safe containers by The United Nations and International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the year 1972.

The two primary objectives of founding CSC plate containers were:

  • To enable top-notch safety in cargo transportation and logistics.
  • To promote intermodal international freight shipment by ensuring safety standards.

So, in the present times, whether it is a COC (company-owned container) or a SOC container (shipper owned container), without a valid CSC Plate certification, international transportation of a shipment is a clear and big no.

What is a CSC Plate?

The Convention for safe containers calls for a safety approval plate that is fitted on every container used for international transport of shipment to ensure maximum safety standards in alignment with the top-notch CSC protocols. This safety approval plate is conventionally fastened to the left door of the steel shipping container. Each plate must contain a certain level of information on it. The words “CSC SAFETY APPROVAL” must be distinctly visible on the plate with the name of the nation of approval and the approval reference.

These days CSC Plate is inclusive with other data in Combined Data Plate. It contains information essential for international trade. A few of which are as follows:

  • CCC or Customs Convention for Containers or the customs plate – It ensures certification of the container to permit container shipment under customs seal.
  • Timber Treatment information – The Australian Agriculture authorities demand this pre-requisite. It contains information about the chemical treatment applied to the wooden flooring.
  • Owner’s Plate – This contains information about the operator of the metal shipping container and its operational number (using “BIC code”).

Role of CSC Plates on Containers

Now, let’s talk about what exactly is a CSC plate? And what is the need for a CSC?
A convention for safe containers or CSC is fundamentally an international agreement that ensures that the shipping container dimensions and designs are in alignment with the ISO norms. CSC is a set of international rules and standards that one has to follow to get a valid international CSC approval. Once a container passes all the design-specific tests and safety checks, it is assigned a CSC number. One has to bolt the CSC plate containing the number and other details on the left side door of the shipping boxes.

The nations that are in collaboration with the IMO and the UN follow the CSC convention. They act as the contracting parties and the government regulating the norms acts as the administrations. Thus, the countries in affirmation with the convention imply their approval. So that moving containers across their borders is a hassle-free process with minimum safety concern formalities.

Contents of CSC Plate

Conventionally, a CSC plate is present on the outer surface of the left door. The information is either written in French or English. It should be a minimum of 200 mm in length and 100 mm in breadth. The plate is made up of a permanent, non-corrosive, and fireproof rectangular plate. The contents of a CSC plate are as follows:

  • The words “CSC SAFETY APPROVAL” – minimum letter height of 8mm.
  • Country of approval for approval reference
  • Container model
  • Month and year of manufacture
  • Manufacturer’s ID of container- container serial number.
  • Classification society approval number.
  • Maximum operating gross weight
  • Allowable stacking weight
  • Racking Test load value
  • Owner’s contact information
  • Timber treatment information
  • Fumigation details
  • Container’s inspection date

Rest information i.e. numbers and information are on the plate surface with a minimum height of 5 mm in a permanent manner. All the characters that are on the plate should be legible and proportionately wide and thick. This plate should be thick with the characters in contrasting colors of the steel shipping container.

Validity of CSC Plate

It is the responsibility of container owners to maintain the condition and conduct safety checks on the state of the container. These inspections are a must to ensure optimum safety conditions for human safety. These inspections are at suitable intervals to facilitate the process of safety approvals.

A CSC Plate certification is valid for a maximum of 5 years after which it has to undergo inspections by following any of the two recommended safety inspection norms. Irrespective of the inspection system followed, only a container that is in a good condition is valid. In case, it has some prevalent damages and becomes a hazard to the safety of the concerned people, the relevant authority has the right to discard such a container out of service.

CSC Inspection

What does an inspection imply?

An inspection is a process with testing, maintenance, and survey as its components, as per the CSC regulations. It is imperative to take them for tests at regular intervals to ensure optimum operating environments. The contracting party, their administration, and the container user/ owner agree to the norms for the inspection under the regulations of CSC. There are two types of CSC inspections:

1. PES (Periodic Examination Scheme)

Periodic Examination Scheme or PES is the conventional way of inspecting the quality of shipping containers. The first tests shall be before the completion of 5 years from the date of approval of the CSC plate. And then subsequently, at an interval of fewer than 30 months. The NED or Next Examination Date is mentioned on the CSC plate.

2. ACEP (Approved Continuous Examination Scheme)

Approved Continuous Examination Scheme is more common than that of PES. The ACEP tests are also done within the time limits of PES. You should take the containers for examinations at regular intervals to ensure the safety of the containers within the stipulated time of PES. This system includes an on-hire inspection for containers in service and an off-hire inspection for containers that are out of service.

The containers inspected with this system should display details such as ACEP designation, ACEP approving nation, and ACEP registration number.

There are a few advantages of ACEP over PES, thus, it is most preferred:

  • The ACEP is more reliable due to its concise and consistent examination process.
  • There is no need to update CSC plates with details such as NED and there is no expiration date.
  •  The containers are in better condition and are not out of service until the next date of inspection. It is more convenient as you have the freedom of scheduling and managing the dates of inspection.

In a nutshell

To sum it up, an increase in the global demand and supply chain has led to the advancement of containerization. The ever-increasing number of cargo containers all over the world and a large number of people working in the maritime industry demand container safety. This makes CSC Plate certification an essential requirement for ensuring human and freight safety in the industry. If ignored, the damaged containers can be a dangerous safety hazard, thus, you should regularly inspect your containers by a surveyor before and after a journey.

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All you have to do is to give us a call on our toll-free number. Our customer care service will be there to help you clarify all CSC Plate certification and shipping containers related queries.