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IMO Gives Initial Approval to Container Weight Verification Proposal

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

An International Maritime Organization subcommittee voted Sept. 20 to advance a proposal that would require the verification of container weights before loaded containers are placed on board ships. According to World Shipping Council President & CEO Chris Koch, the proposed change to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention could be approved by the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee in May 2014 and by the full IMO in November 2014, with implementation as early as July 2016.

Under this proposal shippers would either have to (a) weigh the packed container to confirm that the declared weight is the actual weight or (b) use a “calculated verification” method by combining the weights of all packages and cargo items, including pallets and dunnage. The second option is the subject of some controversy, an article in The Loadstar notes, with the International Transport Workers Federation opining that it opens the door to uncertainty and the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association calling it “a good compromise” because weighing each container cannot be achieved in every part of the world.

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