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Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - International Conventions - CSC - International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972 - Foreword


 In view of the rapid increase since the 1950s in the use of freight containers for the consignment of goods by sea and the development of specialized container ships, in 1967 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) undertook to study the safety of containerization in marine transport.

 In 1972 a conference, jointly convened by the United Nations and IMO, was held to consider a draft convention prepared by IMO in co-operation with the Economic Commission for Europe.

 The 1972 Convention for Safe Containers (CSC 1972) adopted by that conference has two goals: one is to maintain a high level of safety of human life in the transport and handling of containers by providing generally acceptable test procedures and related strength requirements which have proven adequate over the years; the other is to facilitate the international transport of containers by providing uniform international safety regulations, equally applicable to all modes of surface transport. In this way, proliferation of divergent national safety regulations can be avoided.

 The requirements of the Convention apply to the great majority of freight containers used internationally, except those designed specially for carriage by air. As it was not intended that all container, van or reusable packing boxes should be affected, the scope of the Convention is limited to containers of a prescribed minimum size having corner fittings.

 The Convention sets out procedures whereby containers used in international transport must be safety-approved by the Administration of a Contracting Party or by an organization acting on its behalf The Administration, or an organization authorized by it, will then authorize the manufacturer to affix to approved containers a Safety Approval Plate containing the relevant technical data.

 The approval evidenced by the Safety Approval Plate granted by one Contracting Party should be recognized by other Contracting Parties. This principle of reciprocal acceptance of safety-approved containers constitutes the cornerstone of the Convention. Once approved and plated, containers are expected to move in international transport with the minimum of safety control formalities.

 The subsequent maintenance of a safety-approved container is the responsibility of the owner, who is required to have the container periodically examined.

 The technical annexes to the Convention specifically require that the container should be subjected to various tests, which represent a combination of safety requirements of both the inland and maritime modes of transport. Flexibility is incorporated into the Convention by the provision of simplified amendment procedures for the technical annexes.

 The Convention was amended in 1981 to provide transitional arrangements for plating of existing containers (which had to be completed by 1 January 1985) and for the marking of the date of the container's next examination by 1 January 1987.

 It was again amended in 1983 to extend the interval between re-examinations to 30 months and to permit a choice of container re-examination procedures between the original periodic examination scheme or a new approved continuous examination programme (ACEP).

 In 1991, amendments were adopted to annex [ which aim to prevent containers being marked with misleading maximum gross weight information, to ensure removal of the Safety Approval Plate when void for any cause and to provide for the approval of modified containers. The amendments to annex II. also adopted in 1991, aim to clarify certain test provisions. The 1991 amendments entered into force on 1 January 1993 and have been incorporated into the text of the annexes in this publication.

 The supplement to this publication, containing revised and consolidated recommendations on harmonized interpretation and implementation of the Convention, does not constitute any part of the Convention.

 Amendments to the Convention were proposed in Assembly resolution A.737(18). These amendments will enter into force when they have been adopted by two thirds of the Contracting Parties to the Convention.footnote The text of this resolution is included in this publication.

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