Container line, labor and terminal operator groups, along with the Danish, Dutch and U.S. governments, want the International Maritime Organization to require laden containers to be weighed before they are loaded onto ships, rather than just taking exporters’ word on the shipments' weight.
The IMO’s Subcommittee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers is expected at its next meeting in September to consider the proposal aimed at making transport safer on ships, docks and roadways. Aside from the U.S., Dutch and Danish governments, the proposal is co-sponsored by the Baltic and International Maritime Council, the International Association of Ports and Harbors, the International Chamber of Shipping, the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the World Shipping Council.
“For years, the United States has required all its export containers to be weighed. This has not impaired supply chain efficiency, and it has improved safety. The technology exists to weigh containers accurately and efficiently, and it should be a universal, required practice,” said Dr. Geraldine Knatz, president of IAPH and executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
Under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, shippers are required to declare the weight of the container, but the cargo interests often fail to do so, largely because there is no oversight. Through the proposal, port facilities and ships would require weight verifications gained through the weighing of the container to back up a shipper’s declaration.
International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold Daggett has listed weighing of import containers as a top demand in this year’s East and Gulf coast port labor negotiations. Waterfront management says weighing import containers before they’re released from terminals would create congestion and delays and add unnecessary costs.