The International Maritime Organization’srequirements to verify weights of shipping containers are generating uncertainty at US ports, due to ports neither having designated facilities for weighing containers nor the systems for the verification of container weights, which could result in an increase in congestion, according to Fitch Ratings.
Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) will require the verified gross mass (VGM) of packed containers to be documented before loading as of July, 1 2016.
Several US terminals, including the Maher terminal at Port of New York/New Jersey, have stated they will require prior receipt of electronic documentation before allowing containers through their terminal gates.
Some ports may choose to offer weighing services at their facilities, though higher volume terminals operators have indicated this is not likely to be a practical solution.
The exact nature of documentation is unknown, although forwarders and terminals are said to favour the use of electronic data interchange systems.
Forwarders and larger carriers’ are likely to force the market to move toward an electronic industry standard.