The European Shippers’ Council criticized the absence of shippers at talks at the International Maritime Organization regarding the controversial proposal for mandatory weighing of ocean containers before they are loaded on board ships.
IMO committees are debating the proposal at the organization’s headquarters in London before a final decision is taken on Sept. 20.
“The debate seems to be finalized before it began,” said the ESC, which opposes mandatory weighing, in a written statement. “With the lack of shippers’ authorized representatives in IMO, no voices were raised against the proposed measure to verify the weight of each container in a certified way, even through very big industrial interests had publicly opposed the proposed measures.”
“The legitimacy of IMO regulations suffers if not all interests are equally represented and heard,” ESC said. The Brussels-based group called on member states to discuss concerns of shippers and business groups “while they still can.”
The council said mandatory weighing, which aims to improve safety standards at sea, will be costly and ineffective. The Asian Shippers Council also opposes the proposal. The two groups claim to speak for 75 percent of the global container trade.
The International Transport Workers Union and the Global Shippers Council have come out in support of mandatory weighing.