A list of five points has been provided on container weighing as the Container weighing rule is set to come into force in a matter of few weeks.
Safety of life at sea(SOLAS) rules requires that any container to be loaded onto a vessel to which these regulations apply, must have its gross mass determined in advance through weighing – there are no exceptions. From 1st July onwards, to protect the safety of ships, workers both onboard and ashore involved in the handling of cargoes and overall safety at sea, the verified gross mass of any packed container must be declared prior to stowage on board the vessel.
The opening week of March 2016 had a debate, with the Global Consolidators Working Group first writing a letter to the IMO stating that implementing the container weighing rule would be “impossible”.
Also, 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.
As the date of global amendment of SOLAS rule is nearing, here are five points that everyone should get to know:
- History: To ensure vessels do not risk splitting apart at sea due to weight imbalances and protect maritime workers the SOLAS rule will be implemented.
- Responsibility: Shippers (those highlighted on the ocean bill of lading) have primary responsibility to ensure a container and its contents weigh the correct standard.
- 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.
- Practicality: Several options remain available for shippers to weigh containers, however the most practical would be an in-port service utilising either weighbridges or load measurement devices on port equipment.
- 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.
Source: Port Technology