IAPH applauds IMO for adoption of container weight ruling


The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has welcomed the decision by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to amend the SOLAS Regulation VI-2 regarding the mandatory weighing of containers.

The amended rule, agreed at last week’s 93rd session of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), requires shippers to submit verified gross weight of containers prior to loading onto ships. Without the relevant documentation, export containers will not be allowed to be loaded. The amendment and its guidelines will be effective from July 1st 2016 following the 94th session of the MSC to be held in November this year.

“IAPH welcomes adoption of this amendment as the regulation will enhance safety of maritime container transportation,” said IAPH president Grant Gilfillan, chief executive officer/director, Sydney Ports Corporation, Australia.

“IAPH has been an outspoken advocate on this issue for several years now because mis-declared or incorrectly declared container weights are one of the major causes of maritime container accidents in ship navigation, road transportation and terminal operation.”

The IAPH directly addressed this issue by adopting a resolution in 2011 at its 27thWorld Port Conference in Busan, South Korea, making IAPH member survey on container weighing in 2012, and issuing a joint press release with other maritime associations in 2013.

“There was only ever going to be one effective solution to this problem and that was to mandate that container weight verification occur at the point of origin, which is an issue requiring international regulation,” added Gilfillan.

“Within each global jurisdiction there will no doubt be different approaches taken to ensure weight verification. In the interests of port operators it will be the position of IAPH that weight verification should be completed before a container enters the port precinct.”

“To not do so will continue to allow a significant risk to road users within the port and to terminal operators (stevedores) if they have to handle a container with unverified weight.”

“Expecting a terminal operator to verify the weight as part of its handling process is not a complete solution, and the IAPH will be encouraging regulators within governments or port jurisdictions to seek solutions which verify container weights as close to the point of packing as is practical.”

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