Container examination schemes

Approved Continuous Examination Programme (ACEP) Periodic Examination Scheme (PES)

Containers should be regularly examined for their safety and suitability for use in accordance with:

  • an Approved Continuous Examination Programme (ACEP) or
  • a Periodic Examination Scheme (PES)

Both schemes require containers to undergo regular examinations, carried out to the same standard and in the same manner. The difference lies only in the frequency with which the examinations are necessary:

  • Under ACEP the examination is carried out in connection with a major repair, refurbishment or on-hire/off-hire interchange - but the interval between examinations must not exceed 30 months.
  • Under PES the interval from date of manufacture to first examination must not exceed five years. The container should then be examined at intervals not greater than 30 months.

Operators are permitted to apply for either or both ACEP and PES approval and may operate their fleets under either or both arrangements.

Inspections under both schemes must be carried out by a competent person and cover the following aspects of the container:

  • corrosion
  • the condition of welding
  • the condition of riveting or similar method of fastening
  • the presence of mechanical damage
  • the condition of structural components where applicable, eg frame, corner fittings, door and hatch closure gear, floor and external panelling
  • the validity of the safety approval plate

HSE approves examination schemes for owners or lessees of containers in Great Britain. Organisations wishing to obtain approval for an examination scheme should consider the instructions found in the document 'Conditions for approval of examination schemes or programmes' (The Yellow guide) below, and provide HSE with the following information and assurances:

  • A formal request for approval of examination arrangements under the Freight Containers (Safety Convention) Regulations 2017.
  • A statement of whether you propose to carry out examinations under PES, ACEP or both schemes.
  • Confirmation that the examinations will only be carried out on containers, the design of which has been approved by an organisation appointed by HSE in accordance with the instructions found in the conditions for approval.
  • Confirmation that the examinations will be carried out by a competent person in accordance with the instructions found in the conditions for approval.

HSE's approved container examination schemes

Please visit the list of current HSE approved examination schemes. It confirms the allocated plate number and the last known company name and address.

Further information

Conditions for approval of examination schemes or programmes

To request approval of an examination scheme, contact HSE at [email protected]

Is this page useful?

Updated 2024-03-20