Terminal operators call for clarification on box weighing

  • Posted by Juan Pulgar 21 Jan

Terminal operators call for clarification on box weighing

James Baker | Mittwoch, 20 Januar 2016

More action at national level urged

With less than six months to go until the implementation of amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention requiring the verification of gross mass of all containers loaded on vessels, terminal operators are calling for weighing rules to be clarified at national levels.

The Federation of European Private Port Operators says national authorities need to develop guidelines that protect the efficiency of the logistics chain and do not create competitive distortions between member states.

“From July 1, 2016, all containers to be loaded on a vessel will need to be accompanied by a verified gross mass,” said Jasper Nagtegaal, chairman of Feport’s customs and logistics committee. “As of now, industry actors have released guidelines on the implementation of Solas requirement, but guidance from national authorities is still absent in many cases.”

A lack of national guidelines would ultimately lead to confusion in implementation and would have an adverse impact on operations and lead to possible competition distortion, Mr Nagtegaal added.

Feport is asking member states to draft guidelines which adopt a pragmatic approach and do not lead to competition distortion.

Verification of gross mass remains a contentious issue and time is running out for national authorities to implement structures.

Moreover, a recent study by Inttra found that only 30% of cargo owners globally say they are ready to meet full compliance with new container weight rules.

The International Maritime Organization has adopted amendments to Solas requiring every packed export container to have its weight verified before being loaded onto a ship. The rules come into force on July 1.

The IMO has specified that two methods of verifying weight are acceptable: either weighing the packed container using certified and calibrated equipment or using a calculated weight method, which involves summing the individual items separately, and adding the tare weight of the container and packing materials using an approved process.

The Solas revision requires that any apparatus utilised must be “calibrated and certified” in the particular jurisdiction in which it is used.

TT Club risk management director Peregrine Storrs-Fox said: “The issue here is that, while weights and measures regulations will generally already exist, there is currently insufficient clarity as to whether, or to what extent, the Solas regulations fall under legal metrology control in individual states.

“This may discourage innovators faced by the potential of having to meet differing standards around the globe or even by protectionist barriers.”

The capability of weighing equipment, whether in respect of  Method 1 (the packed container) or Method 2 (the sum of all the constituent parts), has traditionally been more aligned towards safe working load requirements, that are far less exacting than what might be expected for “‘calibrated and certified” purposes.

In this regard, Method 2 shippers may be better placed to implement a certified methodology that can be approved in the relevant state.

First published on www.lloydslist.com

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