[German version]

Even casual observers of the specialist press or those who search the Internet for certain terms will soon notice that the hitherto perfect world of „proclamations“ with respect to cargo securing in road transport has been becoming rather untidy over the past few years.

So what happened? Europe is coming together. The volume of freight transported by road, rail and water has continued to increase, and the understandable calls for harmonized rules, not only in respect of cargo securing, have been heard.

A standard intended to ensure a uniform level of safety across the whole of Europe was drafted, and EN 12195-1, which has already been revised several times, has met with a varied response from practitioners. Those interests that have influenced the development of the standard are, understandably, many and varied, even going as far as referencing the regulations of the IMO, which, being an organization within the UNO, is truly not responsible for road traffic in Europe.

The most recent version of the draft standard represents the compromise negotiated in September 2008, which in turn corresponds to a great extent to VDI Guideline 2700, Part 2 of November 2002, but which ignores "findings" from the intervening years. From a German perspective, these include the k factor that applies with tie-down lashings tensioned on one side only, the treatment of coefficients of friction and the "rolling" factor; and, from the perspective of some other European representatives, the forward g force to be assumed for calculating adequate cargo securing measures.

This is lamented by critics who are justifiably concerned that a decline in safety may result and correctly insist that the laws of physics have not changed and that the (German) regulations that had applied previously must continue to apply.

It is undeniable that the laws of physics have not changed, but exactly how much physics has been used in the extremely simplified models used for calculation in the field of cargo securing to date? The models should be easy to comprehend and use. What compromises have been made? Could it be that the intuitive objections of practitioners to a nonsensically high number of tie-down lashings proposed under certain circumstances may well sometimes be justified because the high number is the result of shortcomings in the model used for calculation? This would not be the fault of the laws of physics.

In the context of the upcoming revision of their Cargo Securing Manual as published in 1997, the German Insurers‘ Association (GDV) therefore decided to investigate the underlying physical principles used in the current regulations for calculating adequate cargo securing measures. It is easy to derive these principles from the models used for calculation, but it is not easy to draw such conclusions about the reasoning behind the simplifications and assumptions that have been made. Taking a further step backwards and closely examining what really happens to a cargo assembly when a truck undergoes full braking or changes lane quickly thus seemed unavoidable.

The findings were not surprising, namely that the simplifications applied in the models hitherto used for calculation deviate unacceptably from reality, erring sometimes on the side of caution and sometimes on the side of danger. Irrespective of the need to present simple rules for adequate cargo securing in the upcoming Cargo Securing Manual, it was therefore necessary to examine closely all the factors that have an impact on securing performance.

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