• ITVI.USA
    15,861.160
    -7.510
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.793
    0.019
    0.7%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.460
    -0.010
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,867.600
    -6.080
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,861.160
    -7.510
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.793
    0.019
    0.7%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.460
    -0.010
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,867.600
    -6.080
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
American Shipper

Maritime groups press for container weighing

   An array of maritime industry organizations, labor and governments are asking the International Maritime Organization to require loaded containers be weighed to determine their actual weight.
   The proposal was submitted by Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States, and industry groups including BIMCO, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and the World Shipping Council (WSC). The IMO’s Subcommittee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers will consider the proposal at its next meeting in September.
   The proposed amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention said “A freight container containing cargo shall not be loaded aboard a ship unless the master or his representative and the terminal representative have the verified gross weight of the container obtained by a weighing of the container. Such verified weights shall be available sufficiently in advance of vessel loading to be used in the vessel stowage plan.”
   “Misdeclared container weights are a recurring safety problem on shore, on ships, and on roadways.  It is time to fix that problem,” said Torben Skaanild, BIMCO secretary general. “We are pleased that there is such a broad cross-section of industry and government agreement on a specific and effective remedy,”
   ICS Secretary General Peter Hinchliffe said the amendment would “protect workers in the port, on the ship, and other cargo owners against the various risks created by misdeclared containers.”
   “For years, the United States has required all its export containers to be weighed. This has not impaired supply chain efficiency, and it has improved safety,” said Geraldine Knatz, president of IAPH and executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “The technology exists to weigh containers accurately and efficiently, and it should be a universal, required practice.”
   “The governments that have co-sponsored this proposal have been leaders at the IMO on the issue of maritime safety. Industry and labor are very pleased to have their support in the efforts to amend the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and establish an effective solution to this safety issue,” added Christopher Koch, president and chief executive officer of the World Shipping Council, the main trade organization for the liner industry.
   The WSC website documents a number of incidents in which overweight containers are thought to have been a cause. For example, in June 2011, the container ship Deneb overturned in Algeciras, Spain. A review after the incident found that out of the 168 containers on the load list, 16 – or roughly 1 out 10 – containers had actual weights far in excess of the declared weights. The actual weights exceeded the declared weight in a range between 1.9 and 6.7 times.
   “The major players of the industry dealing with the handling of containers have chosen to make the transport of the ‘box’ even safer than before. The ITF, representing more than 4.6 million workers, welcomes this initiative and will continue to work for a safe, productive and sustainable transport industry,” said Frank Leys, secretary of the ITF dockers’ section.
   Jim McNamara, spokesman for the International Longshoremen’s Association, said the union was “delighted” with the proposal. ILA President Harold Daggett has pressed for weighing of containers both for safety reasons and because he believes that misdescribed container weights cheat the union out of royalties based on container weights.
   James Capo, CEO of the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), the group representing ILA employers, had no comment on the IMO proposals, but noted last month Daggett has been “demanding that all import containers be weighed at the pier before being released. This would create more unneeded work, add unnecessary expense and increase congestion at the ports.”
   It’s not clear if containers were weighed overseas at the point of loading it would resolve the ILA’s concerns about container weights.
   The groups sponsoring the amendment to SOLAS noted the convention currently requires the shipper (the cargo interest that loads its goods into the container) to provide an accurate container weight declaration, but this requirement is often not met, not enforced by SOLAS parties, and there is no requirement to actually weigh a loaded container.  To remedy the problem, the cosponsors propose a legal requirement, not only that the shipper provides an accurate weight declaration, but the port facility and ship have a weight verification certificate obtained by weighing the container.
   The proposal said “container and terminal operators will have procedures in place establishing the tare weight of empty containers depending on the size and type of containers. ISO 6346 also requires the marking of a container to include its tare weight. Consequently, there is no need from a safety perspective to require empty containers to be weighed. The ensuing recommendations should thus be read to address weighing of containers loaded (‘stuffed’) with cargo.”
   Last November, insurer TT Club did a survey on the subject of overweight containers. Some feedback from the survey said it would be wasteful to weigh empty containers. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not favor the exemption. It noted a 2009 accident in the port of Bremerhaven, in which container stacks collapsed on the ship Husky Racer, was blamed on containers that were thought to be empty, but were actually loaded with 15 to 30 tons of cargo. – Chris Dupin

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