Stowing and securing cargo transport

What is lashing ?

Lashing is the securing of transport cargo. It applies to the transport of all types of goods: machines and vehicles, loading of packages on pallets, containers, etc.

Lashing also refers to all modes of goods transport: road transport, maritime and river transport, air transport. Each mode of transport has its own specific regulation. The transport of dangerous goods requires specific precautions when it comes to lashing given the danger posed by the goods being transported.

The characteristics of lashing

There are various accepted methods for securing goods or containers:

  • interlocking ;
  • blocking with filling material, with bars or with panels ;
  • direct or top-over, loop, tie-down or strapping lashing ;
  • or a combination of these different methods to prevent the sliding of the lashing systems in case of friction.

There are various types of lashing equipment available. It depends on the type and composition of the load being transported:

  • synthetic fibre straps (usually polyester) (see standard EN 12 195, Section 2) often used for top-over lashing (by friction), as well as direct lashing (notably when wider lashing equipment is used) ;
  • lashing chains (see standard EN 12195-3) for goods with cutting edges and for heavy goods such as machines, steel, concrete, military equipment, etc. Chains are only used for direct lashing;
  • steel lashing cables (see standard EN 12195-4) recommended for loads such as wire mesh used in reinforced concrete and for some wood loads, such as round logs stacked lengthways.

This lashing equipment bears identification plates or labels indicating:

  • the lashing capacity (LC) in decanewtons (the official unit of force is the daN and not the kg);
  • and the pre-tensioning force, which is obtained when a manual force of 50 daN is applied to the strap.

This label identifies the lashing equipment to be used depending on the load. Lashing equipment must be checked regularly to guarantee its strength.

Certain ancillary equipment can be used to hold the goods in place on board the transport vehicle:

  • anti-slip mat ;
  • wooden bars ;
  • heat-shrink film or stretch film ;
  • steel or plastic strapping ;
  • edge protectors ;
  • corner protectors to prevent damage to the load and the lashing equipment ;
  • spacers, etc.

Examples and application

The lashing is sized based on the forces and energies present on board the transport vehicle: weight of the goods transported, centrifugal force, longitudinal and friction forces applied to the load, etc.

For road transport, the number of lashing equipment required for each load must be calculated based on the criteria defined in standard EN 12195-1: 2010.

Personnel responsible for planning and supervising the loading and lashing of goods must consider all the risks inherent to this task and apply any relevant provisions. They must also know the standard terminology to be able to communicate effectively with shippers, carriers, forwarding agents and senders.

Lashing in figures

Regulatory framework

Lashing on road transport vehicles:

European code of good practice on lashing loads on road vehicles. European Commission (Directorate-General for Energy and Transport), 2008

In accordance with the ADR, the lashing of dangerous goods is considered adequate if it complies with European standards:

  • EN 12195-1 – Calculation of securing forces;
  • EN 12195-2 – Web lashing made from man-made fibres;
  • EN 12195-3 – Lashing chains;
  • EN 12195-4 – Lashing steel wire ropes;

EN 12 640 – Lashing points.

Lashing of dangerous goods on maritime transport loads:

Regulation on the transportation and handling of dangerous goods in maritime ports ("RPM”): Annex to the amended decree of 18 July 2000