CSC plate information: What does it all mean?

CSC plate information: What does it all mean?

If you’re buying or selling shipping containers, or goods inside shipping containers, you’ll want to make sure that they have a CSC plate. CSC plates, also known as CSC panels, are standardised informational plates attached to the side of shipping containers. Primarily, this information concerns the safety and usability of the shipping container, ensuring those loading, unloading, and handling the containers are safe and aware of the condition of the container. A container that has a valid CSC plate can be described as “CSC plated”. In this article, we’ll discuss the CSC plate in more detail, explaining its purpose, origin, and the information that a CSC plate should contain. 


The origin of CSC plates

CSC plates were first developed in 1972 by the UN and the IMO (International Maritime Organisation. The term CSC stands for “Container Safety Convention”, and it’s a standardised system for ensuring the safety and functionality of shipping containers, detailing information on inspections, structural safety, and tests performed. Before this, international shipping was far less regulated, which resulted in substandard transportation and far greater safety risks for those involved in the shipping procedure. 

The manufacturer of a shipping container will fit the CSC plate following rigorous testing to ensure it meets international regulatory standards. Then, the subsequent owners of the shipping container must regularly have it inspected before the CSC runs out (much like an MOT for a car). Once the inspection is passed, the CSC plate is updated to reflect the results of the inspection and a new expiry date is added. All inspectors in the UK must be licenced by one of two governing bodies: Bureau Veritas and IICL (International Institue of Container Lessors)

CSC plates are typically located on the outside of the left door of a shipping container, bolted on to ensure it stays in place and fully visible for inspection. 


The information contained on a CSC plate

As we’ve said, a container’s CSC plate details include vital information regarding the safety and maintenance of the shipping container. This information comprises of: 

  • The container model type
  • The version of CSC rules under which the container was approved
  • The manufacturer’s serial number 
  • Container Identity Number 
  • The name and address of the manufacturer
  • The date of manufacturing 
  • The timber component treatment – the treatment applied to the wood lining the container floors
  • The classification society approval number
  • Maximum operating gross mass – the maximum weight to which the container can safely be loaded
  • Allowable stacking load for 1.8 G – how much weight can be stacked upon the container if it experiences added G-force whilst bobbing up and down at sea
  • First maintenance examination date – the date by which the container needs to be inspected again
  • Racking test – the amount of force the container can withstand before the frame buckles


As well as this, the material, font, formatting of a CSC plate have standards which they must follow. 

  • It must be made of a non-corrosive, fireproof material and must be no smaller than 20cm x 10cm
  • The letters in the words CSC SAFETY APPROVAL must be at least 8mm in height
  • All other letters and numbers must be at least 5mm in height
  • All text must be stamped or embossed, permanently and legibly
  • The colour of the text and the plate itself should differ from the colour of the container for easily finding and reading


You can find more information on the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) website. 


What happens if your container isn’t CSC plated?

Not having a CSC plate on your shipping container can cause a number of problems. It’s a legal requirement to have a valid CSC plate, and lacking one will mean that your container will be refused by customs. CSC plates and the standards they uphold are designed for the safety of both those working on the transporting of shopping containers and the goods inside the containers. Without a valid CSC plate, there’s no guarantee that the container is safe to handle and it poses too much of a risk for shipping companies and customs services. 

Here at Unit Hire, all of our shipping containers have valid CSC plates. If you’d like more information about CSC plates or anything else related to shipping containers, then please get in touch with us via our website, give us a call on 0800 9777590.

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