In a significant breakthrough for the container shipping business, the two criteria currently used when inspecting containers during the interchange process between operators and leasing companies are now to be harmonised.
Until now, there have been two different interchange inspection standards: The ‘IICL-5’ criteria (managed by the Institute of International Container Lessors); and the “Common Interchange Criteria”, administered by the CIC Group of leasing companies. With this group being comprised of five of the world’s leading container lessors (Triton Container, Seaco, Florens Container Services, CAI and Blue Sky Intermodal) who represent over 50% of the world’s leased dry freight container fleet.
Launched in August 2007 as an alternative to the IICL-5 criteria, and endorsed the following year by the Container Owners Association, CIC has enabled shipping lines to benefit from a significant reduction in repair costs by eliminating unnecessary repair to containers. An additional advantage has been a more environmentally friendly approach to container maintenance, with reduced container handling.
The harmonisation process has been undertaken by the leasing industry, which has recognised that the container business – shipping lines, leasing companies and container depots – will benefit from a single standard. Discussions have taken place in recent months between CIC members and the IICL as to how the two different criteria might be harmonised.
Although there are some small adjustments to the most recent version of CIC, the new standard preserves all the main benefits offered by CIC. It also offers more consistent and accurate equipment inspections and repair estimates, bringing efficiencies to all parties.
The harmonisation is taking place simultaneously with the introduction of the IICL 6th edition into the industry. Both, CIC and IICL members expect that the harmonised interchange standards will create a better path to more accurate estimates, fewer disputes and more trained professional inspectors.
The updated version of the CIC standard is scheduled to be introduced for off-hire activity taking place from August 1, 2016 onwards.