Containers that have been sold or are lost or stolen, or tied up in a bankruptcy case, can now be easily identified via new features in a nonprofit database, known as BoxTech, the Journal of Commerce reports.
The database was launched in July 2016 by the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) includes information on more than 30 percent of the global container fleet. One new function allows owners to indicate when containers have been sold. The This will help shippers to avoid problems stemming from the inadvertent use of a container that has changed hands or otherwise has a “special status,” such as being part of a bankruptcy.
A second new feature, called a “recovery alerts system,” enables users to create a list of containers of interest that are then searched in the database to see they are involved in a bankruptcy situation, or are lost or stolen. Users that search the database for a specific containers will be alerted if has been sold and is no longer part of a company’s fleet.
Users can also do an increased number of queries on the database, as a result of the implementation of new application programming interfaces (APIs), BIC said. These include increased automation of the process by which container owners update their information and others that enable users to search the database by rate weight, size and type, maximum ross mass and other characteristics.
Initially the BoxTech was introduced to help shippers meet the demands of the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, which requires shippers to submit the weight of any container being shipped before it is loaded onto a vessel.
Some shipping lines like, Maersk Line and CMA-CGM are already using the new tools. Both lines have uploaded their entire global container fleets to the database and are now flagging units whenever they are sold.