07 Mar 2016
2016 has seen container weighing muscle its way to the forefront of maritime industry discourse, with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations now only a matter of weeks away from global implementation.
The opening week of March, 2016 saw the debate mired in turbulence, with the Global Consolidators Working Group first writing a letter to the IMO stating that implementing the container weighing rule would be “impossible”.
Following this, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Paul Thomas made a statement to a key conference in which he said the rule was “not mandatory”.
The week then ended with IMO Senior Deputy Director for Marine Technology and Cargoes, Maritime Safety Division, Joseph Westwood-Booth stating to a conference in Barcelona that the weighing legislation would definitely be going through.
So with the container weighing rule set to come into effect on July 1, 2016, PTI has put together a list of five points we all need to know:
1) History: The rule has been passed by SOLAS in order to ensure vessels do not risk splitting apart at sea due to weight imbalances and protect maritime workers
2) Responsibility: Shippers (those highlighted on the ocean bill of lading) have primary responsibility to ensure a container and its contents weigh the correct standard
3) Methodology: Two methods are available to shippers. To weigh a container with its contents pre-packed, or to weigh the contents separately from the container
4) Practicality: Several options remain available for shippers to weigh containers, however the most practical would be an in-port service utilizing either weighbridges or load measurement devices on port equipment
5) Time: The industry has been slow to adopt solutions for the new regulations, however, those who spotted the importance of the regulations early can offer much-needed guidance, as we are now clear that the SOLAS regulation will be implemented July, 1, 2016
For a more comprehensive review of container weighing, please follow this link for a whitepaper from Strainstall Managing Director Simon Everett on the issue.