NEW CONTAINER WEIGHT RULES
Steamship lines, logistics providers, exporters and importers are coming together to figure out the best way to implement the new global regulations which will require container weight to be certified before they can be loaded onto a vessel. The regulations are expected to be in effect on July 1st 2016.
The shipper’s obligation to provide correct container weights is not new, however this new regulation will take the obligation further than current standards by providing two methods by which such weights may be confirmed. Method 1 involves weighing the container after it has been loaded and Method 2 involves weighing the content of the container before it is loaded, then adding the sum to the container tare weight. Both methods must use weighing equipment that has been calibrated and certified by the competent authority. The new regulation will require the shipper to provide a signed verification of the container’s weight, and expressly forbids containers to be loaded onto a ship unless their verified weight is available to the terminal and the ship’s master.
Although the two acceptable methods of container weighing have been announced, there are plenty of details which are still not clear, such as how electronic data will be handled, and there is currently no standard procedure for each carrier to follow in order to implement the new rules. The Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement have created a working committee to create best practices and respond to these concerns.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) which is an international maritime safety treaty, which ensures that ships flagged by signatory States comply with minimum safety standards. The countries which are signatories to SOLAS must now decide how to implement this requirement in their respective jurisdictions. Surprisingly, very few have made much progress in this respect, despite the fact that the implementation date of July 1, 2016 is fast approaching.
For shippers not in compliance with the new regulation on verification, the risk is the container will not get shipped. It could be turned away from the terminal, or stowed at the terminal for an extra cost. Carriers may choose to just not accept the container, and won’t legally be allowed to load it.
PNG Worldwide will keep our customers informed as the regulation date approaches and guidelines are put in place which may need your attention. For any questions on how this may affect your business, please email email@example.com