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The introduction of new rules regarding the regulation of ocean container weights is looming. The World Shipping Council has warned that shippers and the container shipping sector must comply with new container weight regulations when they enter force in July 2016.
The WSC has released a set of guidelines for its member shipping lines declaration and poor container packing.
In what could be a major burden for unprepared shippers and forwarders, all shippers worldwide must provide verified weights for laden containers before loading, said the WSC.
Some analysts speculated that the changes in SOLAS could cost global shippers an additional £3.13bn every year.
“All parties should use the next 12 months to plan for the efficient and effective implementation of this requirement. The regulations place a requirement on the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to provide the container's gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative sufficiently in advance of vessel loading to be used in the preparation of available to both vessel master and a terminal representative, the container should not be loaded onto the vessel.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether terminals need to position themselves to be able to
weigh containers, not least because of the cost of creating appropriate infrastructure, and amending systems and procedures.
In many cases, the responsibility for actual ‘verified' declaration will rest with a freight forwarder, logistics operator or NVOCC. Freight forwarders will have to carry the burden of verifying container weights for many of their customers and should begin preparing now according to the WSC. “The intervening period should be considered to be the transition or planning period. All regulated parties need to be prepared to implement and abide by the container weight verification requirements by 1 July 2016.
This period should also allow time for regulated parties to prepare for required process and documentation changes and to test information transmission enhancements in advance of the effective date.”