An insulated shipping container is seen in Shanghai, China, in this January 8, 2016 file photo.
A new study released Wednesday by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (CCES) finds that a company rated “healthier” than most other shipping containers on its own label may not be the best choice when it comes to shipping.
The study examined the health of more than 10,000 shipping containers that had been rated by CCSES as being “insulated.”
The companies’ labels did not include the health information, so CCSes researchers calculated the risk of the containers passing on the label to the consumer.
The researchers then compared those risk estimates with what other experts had said about shipping containers in general.
They concluded that the label for most shipping containers is “unsafe” and “unsatisfactory,” with the riskiest shipping containers having the lowest risk of passing on their label to consumers.
The results of the study, which was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Michigan and the University at Buffalo, showed that the healthiest shipping container had a risk of failing to pass on its label to an average consumer, or one that passed on more than a third of the time.
The researchers calculated that shipping containers with a risk level of one were at the highest risk.
“Most shipping containers fail at least once every four years,” said CCS’s chief scientist, Michael Jacobsen, a former senior policy advisor for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and an adjunct professor of engineering and public policy at Michigan State University.
“That’s not good enough.”
In the past, shipping containers were often rated for their health and safety based on their manufacturer’s label, Jacobsen said.
“But the labels were not standardized.”
In other words, shipping container manufacturers had to decide for themselves what to put on their labels.
The report also found that shipping container labels had a “significant bias” toward “good” or “safe,” while most health-related labels were “poor.”
“Most companies that use these labels fail at or near the same rate as most other companies in the industry,” Jacobsen told The Washington Times.
The findings contradict statements made by shipping companies and environmental groups, who said the labels had been the “safest” labels on the market.
For instance, shipping companies have often pushed for better labeling in the past.
For example, the U-Haul Association, the trade group representing shipping companies, recently called for the elimination of labels that “misrepresented the dangers” of shipping containers.
“These are the labels that are rated as ‘healthiest’ on the planet, yet in reality, they are not,” said Matthew W. Clark, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Center For Food Safety, a nonprofit environmental group.
Clark said shipping companies were “very concerned” about the new report, which he said was a “clear sign that they have a problem with shipping containers.”
“Shipping companies and their executives must realize that the safety of their ships is at the core of the bottom line,” he said.
The Washington Times requested comments from shipping companies on the new study.
A spokesperson for CCSS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.