The process within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to implement the mandatory verification of a container weight before it is loaded on to a vessel is progressing as expected. In a May 2014 meeting, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) approved draft amendments to SOLAS(the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea) chapter VI to require the mandatory verification of the gross mass of containers, either by weighing a packed container, or by weighing all packages and cargo items and adding the tare mass. The requirements are expected to enter into force in July 2016. It is clearly stated in the draft amendment that the responsibility for obtaining and documenting the container weight lies with the shipper. This means that the burden to comply with the new regulations is not with terminal operators as such, but the situation – where many shippers will not have access to the facilities needed to fulfill their duties – provides terminal operators with an opportunity to offer such a service to shippers.
The SOLAS regulations prescribe two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container: • To weigh the packed container after loading and sealing. The shipper can do this or have a third party do it • A shipper weighs all packages and cargo items including pallets, dunnage and packing material. The sum of all the single masses plus the tare mass of the container forms the verified gross mass of the container. Cer tified methods must be employed for the individual masses and the total gross container mass
Business case for terminal operators
It is likely that the second method may bring an administrative burden for the shipper that will actually lead to, or encourage, the use of the first method. There are also some cargo types such as scrap metal and unbagged grain that are not as easy to weigh as individual items, therefore the second method will be inappropriate and impractical. There seems to be an interesting, if not a…