Freight News, Sea

IMO adopts container-weighing rules

[ May 21, 2014   //   ]

An International Maritime Organization committee formally approved new rules to make weighing of containers compulsory on 20 May, a move welcomed by the British International Freight Association (BIFA). The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee approved the draft amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Chapter VI to require mandatory verification of the gross mass of containers.
However, BIFA cautioned that if the method for determing container weights put forward, namely the ‘aggregating’ method, does not work, mandatory weighing of fully loaded containers is likely.
The IMO sub-committee approved draft guidelines, giving shippers two methods to verify the weight of a container – either by weighing the entire loaded container using calibrated and certified equipment; or the ‘aggregated’ method, weighing the individual packages, dunnage and similar and adding the tare mass to that sum.
BIFA director general, Peter Quantrill said: “There is a real problem with regard to this issue and statistics issued by leading insurers indicate approximately 20% of all containers are overweight. All parties have responsibilities in relation to this subject and must fulfil them.
“BIFA believes that the correct place to establish the weight of a loaded container is before the vehicle drives on the public highway.”
He added: “In the final analysis the present problems are a direct result of poor regulatory enforcement and trade compliance.”
BIFA has already started working with the UK’s enforcing agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and other trade bodies to produce a policy to meet the regulations. It said that it needed to be simple to follow, making use of other accreditations such as ISO; as well as use commerercial flows and documentation.
The draft amendments should now be put forward for adoption to the next MSC session in November and, if approved, will enter into force in July 2016. This, Quantrill concluded, should give the industry enough time in which to adapt.

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