Wednesday, January 21, 2015

World Shipping Council Stresses Urgency Over Incoming Freight Container Weight Regulations

Don't Wait Until it's Too Late Says WSC - New Rules Apply From Next Year
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – As ever there is a tendency in the world of ocean container freight to put off until tomorrow what should really be looked at today. Whilst some companies undertake that which needs to be done, many others delay until regulations overtake them. Witness the mixed reactions this year to the imposition of Emission Control Areas, designed to ensure better quality fuel is used by the shipping industry. That was a requirement introduced under the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) MARPOL Convention and, years prior to its introduction, industry professionals were warning that companies should adapt and adopt immediately to avoid problems.

This week the World Shipping Council (WSC) has issued its own warning that the latest amendments to the IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), which will require every packed export container to have a verified container weight as a condition for loading aboard a vessel as from 1 July 2016, merits the attention of industry stakeholders right now.

All parties involved in the international transportation of maritime containers, including shippers, freight forwarders, packers, NVOCCs, carriers, and marine terminal operators, will need to take measures to ensure that they are prepared to fulfill the new SOLAS regulatory requirement before the implementation date arrives.

In order to help promote an understanding of these SOLAS amendments, the World Shipping Council has released an excellent three page synopsis of what the SOLAS requirement containers. That synopsis, along with the text of the SOLAS requirements, can be found on the WSC website link HERE.

The new situation is posing some questions for container ports and terminals around the globe. With the correct declaration of export weight firmly lying with the consignor, most ports with modern cranes are able to deduce the actual gross weight of any box instantly. This information however usually remains as an internal note as it is currently only a safety essential to avoid overloading the lifting equipment.

Should exporters in the future be found to be under declaring weights it may be possible for the quayside weight to verify, or otherwise, the actual mass and to impose a charge for misdeclaration, although currently this is mere speculation as port managers get their heads together to discuss the problem. Alternatively passage over a weighbridge on entering the facility should produce an accurate weight but it would seem the IMO’s intention was slanted more towards ensuring that this regulation was dealt with by the shipper prior to reaching the export terminal concerned.