In 2023, 221 of the 250 million containers transported were lost in incidents at sea, the lowest by far since reporting started in 2008, according to the latest report from the World Shipping Council (WSC).

"From a liner shipping industry perspective, every container overboard is one too many. Of the containers lost, about 33 percent were recovered, and is a significant improvement from the loss of 661 containers in 2022."

The numbers indicate a positive trend of increasing container safety as well as improved navigational safety and vessel routing, the update added.

During 2023, most WSC member carriers saw no or single digit container losses with only one carrier reporting losses above 100 units for the year. "The rolling average losses for the last three years was 1,061 containers (2021-2023)."

How the cargo is packed and stowed in the container by the exporters, consignor or shipper is key to safe transport - both on sea and on land, the update added. "The most important thing the party tendering the cargo can do to prevent losses is to make sure that cargo is conscientiously and correctly packed, declared and placarded, and its weight verified in line with applicable regulations.

"There are over 7,000 container ships continuously operating on the world's seas, and the liner shipping industry's goal remains to keep the loss of containers as close to zero as possible. We welcome continued collaboration with governments and other stakeholders to accomplish this goal."

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