New harmonised container inspection criteria

The Container Owners Association has announced the two container interchange inspection standards used by container operators and the container leasing industry have harmonised.

The Container Owners Association (COA) is calling the development a “significant breakthrough”  for the whole container shipping industry. “Until now, there have been two different interchange inspection standards: the “IICL-5” criteria (managed by the Institute of International Container Lessors); and the “Common Interchange Criteria”, administered by the CIC Group of leasing companies, comprising five of the world’s leading container lessors (Triton Container, Seaco, Florens Container Services, CAI and Blue Sky Intermodal) who represent over 50% of the world’s leased dry freight container fleet,” COA stated.

New harmonised container inspection criteria

CIC was launched in August 2007 as an alternative to the IICL-5 criteria - and endorsed the following year by the COA. “CIC has enabled shipping lines to benefit from a significant reduction in repair costs by eliminating unnecessary repair to containers. An additional advantage has been a more environmentally friendly approach to container maintenance, with reduced container handling” said the COA.

The leasing industry undertook to harmonise the standards to benefit all players involved, including lines and depots, and led discussions between CIC members and the IICL.

“Although there are some small adjustments to the most recent version of CIC (see below), the new standard preserves all the main benefits offered by CIC. It also offers more consistent and accurate equipment inspections and repair estimates, bringing efficiencies to all parties.

“The harmonisation is taking place simultaneously with the introduction of the IICL 6th edition into the industry (“IICL-6”). Both, CIC and IICL members expect that the harmonised interchange standards will create a better path to more accurate estimates, less disputes and more trained professional inspectors,” COA stated.

The new version of the CIC standard is scheduled to be introduced for off-hire activity taking place from August 1st, 2016 onwards. A technical bulletin is available on the CIC website ( and also on the COA’s website ( COA invites anyone needing further information to contact Patrick Hicks at the COA Secretariat on (or telephone +44(0)20 8390 0000).

CIC Standards Update

As a result of the harmonization of the two standards the following updates are made to the CIC standards as of 01 August 2016:

Roof panels Table - 5.5

  • ROOF INTO- THE-CUBE DEFLECTION: 40mm (1-9/16 in ) downward bow measured from the inside lower surfaces of the top side rails to the inboard roof corrugation
  • ROOF UPWARD DEFLECTION: 40mm (1-9/16 in ) upward bow measured from the inside top surfaces of the top side rails to the inside of a recessed roof corrugation

Rear and front headers – Table 5.1

  • If more than 35 mm (1-3/8 in) deep, REPAIR

Flooring height difference – Table 5.6

  • If difference is more than 5 mm (3/16 in), REPAIR

All other CIC standards remain as currently defined. Starting with the IICL – 6th edition, the CIC will follow all future updates and revisions adopted on the IICL inspection criteria. The technical bulletin should be applied to all containers gated-in as of August 1st, 2016.