Updated industry guidelines on the carriage of seed cake in containers

IG Circular

Published: 22 June 2020 Updated:

Container ship carrying container for import and export, business logistic and transportation by ship in open sea, Aerial view container ship (picture)
Credit to: Avigator Fortuner / Shutterstock.com

Circular issued by International Group clubs

An updated version of the "Guidelines for the Carriage of Seed Cake in Containers" is jointly published by the International Group and CINS (the Cargo Incident Notification System).

This new version of the Guidelines notes that it is vital that Seed Cake that is not classified in Class 4.2 of the IMDG Code should be declared by the shipper to the receiving carrier and appropriate documentation provided to show that the Seed Cake as offered for shipment has been tested in accordance with the provisions of the IMDG Code.

This version 3 of the Guidelines also includes the strong recommendation that Seed Cake which is not classified in Class 4.2 of the IMDG Code should meet the same requirements for container selection, packing, inspection, stowage and segregation as set out in the Guidelines for Seed Cake that is classified as dangerous goods.

This version 3 of the Guidelines replaces, and supersedes, version 2 that was published in June 2020.


The carriage of Seed Cake cargoes continues to cause confusion and the potential for undeclared or misdeclared cargo remains high - with the consequent risk of fire on board container ships. "Seed Cake" is the term used for pulp, cake, pellets, expellers or other cargo where oil has been removed from oil-bearing seeds, cereals or commodities with similar properties, including all such types of seed meal. It is principally used as an ingredient in animal feeds.

Seed Cake is produced by removing oils and fats from plant material, either by mechanically crushing the seeds (known as expelling) or extracting the oil by the use of a solvent. Neither method removes all of the oil and it is the reactivity of the residual oil which gives rise to the hazardous properties of Seed Cake.

In addition to giving details of the issues arising from the carriage of Seed Cake in containers, the Guidelines also provide advice about container selection, packing and stowage on board ship.

The new version of the Guidelines can be downloaded here: Guidelines for the Carriage of Seed Cake in Containers.