By Matt Tremblay, ABS VP of Containerships

The current shipping market is driving owners and operators to look for every opportunity to build in savings and find new operational efficiencies. Looking for ways to cut costs and improve performance is not a new concept to the containership industry, but some of the technology that drives those results may be. ABS has invested in developing a tool and associated guidance that can help designers and fleet managers make smarter decisions about lashing system arrangements that can lead to improved operational efficiencies.

In recent years, there has been a surge in deliveries of new containerships that are bigger and more capable than previous designs. Along with the growth in the number of larger containerships comes increased demand for higher container stacks and weights. Containership owners and operators recognize the need to maximize cargo carrying capacity but also understand that safety cannot be jeopardized in the process. ABS has published new guidance and created new companion software that will help to eliminate inefficiencies in lashing designs and fully optimize cargo securing arrangements on board containerships.

In creating these tools, ABS worked with containership owners, builders, equipment manufacturers and designers to develop a benchmark against existing arrangements and designs. Armed with an understanding of real world applications, ABS was able to develop a new test procedure for fully-automatic twistlocks as well as an updated process for determining lashing bridge loads. Being able to more accurately test and prove component capabilities is critical for owners and operators as they look to find operational efficiencies.

Central to the ABS Guide for Certification of Container Securing Systems (Lashing Guide) is a newly developed nonlinear lashing analysis procedure that represents a significant improvement over the current formulas for container securing. Along with the companion software, ABS C-LASH™, the Guide helps evaluate mixed, external and internal lashings at multiple tiers and multiple lashing points, twist-lock gaps in both vertical and horizontal directions and the effect of lashing bridge flexibility. By accounting for these variables, owners and operators can make smarter and more informed decisions on cargo distribution and lashing arrangements.

The ABS C-LASH software’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to define the container stack size and location, container racking stiffness, vertical and horizontal twist-lock gaps, lashing rod properties and connections at container corners and lashing bridge stiffness or displacement. Inputs are specified for each tier, providing flexibility in developing the analysis. Once the user has defined the parameters, the software displays the results in the desired format – graphical, tabular or textual. Color-coded displays simplify visualizing the calculated loads for each component, the status of twist-lock gaps (open/closed), and reveal whether these exceed allowable limits.

Key for ship owners and operators is managing their fleet in a way that captures all possible efficiencies and optimizes the use of onboard space. As a technology leader, ABS understands the importance of meeting operational requirements without compromising safety and is committed to continuously find ways to help the shipping industry be safer and more reliable. With this Guide and the ABS CLASH software, owners and operator have the tools to develop and maintain smarter lashing systems that reduce risk and increase efficiency and safety.