Standards for sea freight container inspection stands

​​New Standards for Sea Freight Container Inspection Stands outline the minimum requirements for the design, construction, repair, certification and safe use of container inspection stands by industry stakeholders, operators/providers, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and other users.

The standards also provide for:

  • a nationally consistent inspection and certification regime for container inspection stands
  • compliance with statutory requirements, including Work Health and Sa​fety obligations.

Key elements of the Standards are summarised below. Please refer to the Standards for the complete criteria.

Required qualifications and competencies

The requirements for the persons conducting inspections of stands are divided between a structural inspector and a structural engineer.

Copies of qualifications and/or competencies must be provided to the department with inspection results and/or certification.

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Structural inspectors

Structural inspectors:

  • are not required to be an independent worker to the site/premises
  • must have competency in steel structures.

Competency can be obtained by meeting one of three criteria:

  • Successful completion of Transport and Logistics training packages: TLIB2086A (Apply awareness of structures fundamentals) and TLIB3088A (Examine Steel Structures) and 5 years’ experience in the inspection of steel structures.
  • A Welding Inspector Certificate as recognised by the Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA).
  • More than 15 years’ experience in the inspection or fabrication of steel structures in addition to approval by a structural engineer (with a membership of the Institute of Engineers, Australia (MIEAust) or equivalent).

Qualified engineers

Engineers with EITHER of the following degree qualifications are able to certify stands:

  • Civil or Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering plus 5 years demonstrable experience in the design or fabrication of steel structures.

As a guide, experience in design or fabrication of steel structures can be evidenced with a CV or logbook which states relevant projects going back a minimum of five years.

For each project the CV/logbook must detail the:

  • project’s scope of work
  • dates when the work was undertaken
  • company the engineer worked for at the time
  • client for the works/project.

Qualified engineers must also meet ALL of the following:

  • chartership with the Engineers Australia
  • valid state certification (if required)
  • be an independent worker to the site/premises authorities.

Chartership with Engineers Australia provides the department with confidence that the engineer possesses competencies that are nationally recognised and standardised. To gain chartership, engineers are formally assessed and tested through a comprehensive process of providing evidence of work and in-depth interviews.

Note: It is the responsibility of industry to ensure that the employment of qualified engineers meets the above requirements.

Premises staff who load and unload containers

Premises staff who load and unload containers are required to be trained in or aware of AS 3711.10-2000 in the handling of containers when placing and removing from the stand.

Certification, inspection and maintenance

A statement of certification must be supplied to the department each time a stand is certified by a qualified engineer, as per the inspection and maintenance schedules and after major impact or damage repairs.

A sample statement of certification is included in the Standard.

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Inspection and maintenance schedules

Inspections alternate between a structural engineer and a structural inspector with the 1st inspection being conducted by the structural engineer to certify the stand.

Purpose-built stands require inspection every 2 years until they reach a design life of 30 years or until repaired or decommissioned.

Modified containers that are used as stands can continue to be used however, they will be required to have yearly inspections until repaired or decommissioned.

Inspection criteria and reporting

An Accident and Inspection Sheet and a list of limiting criteria are included for use by the structural inspector to:

  • standardise inspection procedures
  • clarify the circumstances that warrant the removal of a stand from use.

The Accident and Inspection sheet is used for routine, scheduled maintenance and for use when assessing damage to the stand. This sheet is to be kept by the site/premises in their maintenance log and a copy provided to the department as per inspection schedule or after damage and repairs.

The Criteria for Limiting Defects and Associated Repair Actions provides the criteria for the structural inspector:

  • for repair action that can be taken by the site/premises staff
  • for repairs requiring the stand to be removed from use, repaired and for a structural engineer to conduct a detailed structural inspection, assessment and recertification.


Qualified engineers must supply a statement of certification to the operator. A sample statement is included at Appendix D of the Standard.

Register or maintenance log

A register or maintenance log must be kept by the site/premises. This log is to contain stand certification, qualifications and competencies of the persons conducting inspections, damage and repair reports and Accident and Inspection sheets.

Copies of all certifications, inspection results, damage and repair reports as well as copies of the qualifications and competencies of the persons conducting inspections must be provided to the department.

The maintenance log is to be available to the department on request and must contain a maintenance plan for each stand.

Maintenance plan

A maintenance plan is to be developed by each site/premises to ensure continued compliance with inspection schedules.

Criteria for design

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Design and construction requirements

A comprehensive list of requirements is provided for the design and construction of a container inspection stands.

A certification plate must be affixed to the stand.

New stands

New stands must be designed, constructed and certified according to the criteria. It is recommended that premise/sites considering the construction of a new inspection stand, consult closely with the local department office.

Modified containers, such as modified flat racks, are not acceptable for the design and construction of new stands.

Existing stands

All existing stands must be reviewed to meet the requirements of this specification by a structural engineer.

Consideration must be given to the current state of the stand, for example the extent of corrosion, cracking and any loss of section. In situations where an existing stand does not meet the requirements, specific criteria for non-compliant existing stands has been provided in the Standard.

Certification plate

Each stand is required to have a certification plate permanently attached to the stand. The plate must contain:

  • unique stand number
  • date of manufacture (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • date Working Limit (SWL)
  • date of last inspection (mm/yyyy).

The plate will need to be updated each time the stand is recertified.

Unique stand number

Companies are responsible for developing their own unique numbering system. The numbers must be unique to the premises and location. Companies with multiple sites would need to differentiate the sites.

Action required

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New Stands

All new purpose-built stands must be designed, constructed and certified as per the Standards.

Modified containers, such as modified flat racks, are not acceptable for the design and construction of new stands.


The certification and the qualified engineer’s qualifications need to be:

  • provided to the operator
  • kept on the premises in the maintenance log
  • copied and forwarded to the local department regional office.


It is recommended that premises liaise with local department offices to discuss any concerns.

Stands that are not certified as per the Standards will not be used by department staff.

For more information visit Standards for Sea Container Inspection Stands frequently asked questions.

Last reviewed: 4 February 2020
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