Every day incidents and accidents occur on roads because the cargo transported has not been properly stowed or secured. In fact, it is estimated that around 7’5% of the infractions detected by the authorities on road are related to an inappropriate load position and fastening and that a 25% of truck accidents are due to an inappropriate cargo fastening.

The reason behind the development of international packaging standards is to ensure that loads do not shift, fall, overturn or deform due to the movements occurring during the distribution cycle.


International packaging standards

These standards are created and developed by international associations such as ISTA, ASTM, ISO and EUMOS, which provide companies with different testing standards to achieve a safe transport and cargo safety. In addition, thanks to international packaging standards, companies can guarantee a safe distribution cycle at every level, since a well-secured cargo not only protects the people involved in the loading, unloading, driving of the vehicle and pedestrians, but also the vehicle and the cargo itself.

For this reason, there are some European guidelines on cargo securing which are based on physical laws related to friction, gravity, dynamics and strength of materials. In order to simplify the design and the validation of cargo securing arrangements, specific standards related to the strength and performance of a superstructure, securing arrangements, or materials used for securing can be found in the following international packaging standards:

  • EN 12195-1 Calculation of lashing forces: regulation related to cargo lashing devices on road vehicles with the purpose of achieving a safe transport. The testing standards included in this regulation are related to the design of stowage methods for vehicles over 3,500 kg. Its methods include blocking, lashing, and different combinations of both methods, so that the load is secured on the vehicle’s surface.

Thanks to the regulations of this standard, freight companies can design a cargo securing system that is suitable for the type of goods being transported and the type of transport by calculating the many variables involved. To this end, the standard defines the use of several coefficients and formulas, as well as different reference tables for subsequent calculations.

  • EN 12195-2 Web lashings made from man-made fibers: this standard includes parameters for the calculation of lashing forces, and therefore is works in combination with the formulas of the EN 12195-1 standard.
  • EN 12640 Lashing points: this standard complements the two previous ones. In this case, it specifies the minimum requirements for lashing points, specifying the allowed lashing angles.
  • EN 12195-3 Lashing chains: specifies criteria for testing lashing chains. This method is used when the load is extremely heavy. 
  • EN 12195-4 Lashing steel wire ropes: outlines the required specifications for steel wire rope lashes, generally used in relation to cargo safety to secure steel plates in vehicles equipped with lashing winches.

  • EN 12642 Strength of vehicle body structure: establishes a required structural strength for the body of commercial vehicles (side, front and back walls) and trailers to be able to absorb part of the load securing forces and achieve a safe load securement. 
  • ISO 1161, ISO 1496 ISO container: these define the specifications for containers, homogenizing sizes and interfaces to allow for transfers between different types of vehicles. 
  • EN 283 Swap bodies: specifies the testing standards to test the swap bodies that are typically used in road and rail transportation.
  • EN 12641 Tarpaulins: aimed at establishing the minimum securement and resistance of tarpaulins in containers and swap bodies.
  • EUMOS 40511 Poles – Stanchions: testing method to verify poles and stanchions, typically affixed to the vehicle’s bed.
  • EUMOS 40509:20 Transport Packaging: essential among road freight international packaging standards

It consists of a dynamic testing system the tests the force and safety of a load that is subjected to horizontal accelerations and decelerations, simulating the forces that take place during road transportation. 

Learn more about the new version of the EUMOS 40509:2020 testing method and how to comply with it in our free ebook. 


International packaging standards: a must for cargo securing

All groups of people involved in the logistic process are responsible for guaranteeing that cargo is properly packed and loaded on a suitable vehicle, including packers, loaders, transport companies, operators and drivers. These responsibilities for cargo securing are based on international conventions and regulations, national legislation and/or contracts between involved parties.

During transport planning, the person responsible has to ensure there is a correct description of the cargo including all the important information about the load; ensuring that load units are suitably packed to withstand the stresses which are to be expected under normal transport conditions; or ensuring that dangerous goods are correctly classified, packed and labelled, among many others.

During cargo loading, the person responsible must also keep in mind actions such as ensuring that only cargo which is safe and suitable for transport is loaded; checking if a load securing plan is available when starting to load; or ensuring all certificates of vehicle parts used for the securing cargo can be provided, among others.

ISTA vs ASTM: which one suits your products best?

Lastly, before driving, it is important to check the outside of the vehicle and of the cargo if accessible to check for evident unsafe situations. Also, it’s crucial to ensure all certificates of vehicle parts used for the securing of the cargo can be provided. Throughout the transport journey, the person responsible should regularly check the safety of the load.

To conclude, cargo must be placed on the vehicle according with some regulations on cargo safety so that it can neither endanger persons nor goods and cannot move on or off the vehicle.

Do you want to know more about international packaging standards, the benefits of implementing them and how your company can comply with them to guarantee cargo securing? 

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have a track-record of two decades helping companies optimize their product + packaging systems through our transport simulation systems

Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you.