An amended rule has been agreed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that requires all containers to be weighed before boxes are loaded onto ships.
This is to be done by either weighing all cargo via a method that has been permitted by each country, or by weighing each individual unit, according to the Journal of Commerce.
All those involved with the handling of cargo, including terminal operators and container lines are to ensure that they comply with the new rule.
In a statement, global transportation insurance provider, TT Club said: “The implications of this modest change are reverberating through the international transport community, emphasising as it does shippers’ responsibility to declare gross mass accurately and clarifying the means by which this can be done.”
The need for this mandatory rule comes amid recent accidents such as the incident involving the MSC Napoli in 2007 along the southern UK coast, when misbalanced weighting caused the ship to spill its cargo which was then acquired by salvors.
Previously, container weighing was abandoned by European and Asian shipping groups because of concerns that infrastructure would be too expensive to weigh the boxes, as well as other additional costs.
However, critics of the mandatory ruling are said to have exaggerated these costs, with supporters arguing that the longstanding US rule has not reduced supply chain efficiency and has also improved safety.
The IMO’s amended rule is to be come into effect in July, 2016.
IMO Container Weighing Coming in 2016. (Source: China Performance Group)