Container Weight Verification Requirements
As a responsible carrier, Crowley wishes to inform you, our customers, that container weight verification requirements as outlined by the SOLAS convention will begin being enforced July 1, 2016.
While each shipper and shipping line will adopt its own procedures, Crowley stands firmly behind the rationale for this regulation and will assist customers in any way possible to ensure compliant, safe operations. Our goal is to ensure that there are no short-shipments due incorrect or unknown weights. Please know that we can overcome this challenge if we work together.
When the regulation is fully in effect next year, shippers will not be permitted to estimate the weight of a shipment. The shipper (or by arrangement of the shipper, a third party) has a responsibility to weigh the packed container or to weigh its contents. In either case the weighing equipment used must meet national certification and calibration requirements. Further, the party packing the container cannot use the weight somebody else has provided, except in one specific set of defined circumstances. It is important to note that, for the shipper’s weight verification to be compliant with the SOLAS requirement it must be “signed”, meaning a specific person representing the shipper is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper.
In line with other modes of transportation that have already taken steps to ensure the safety of their employees and equipment, the maritime industry has joined stevedores/terminals (29 CFR 1918. 85 (OSHA)) and truckers (49 USC 59 (FHWA- 1992 Act)) in passing regulations to safeguard against improperly declared weights.
Under-declared container weights leading to unsafe loading, is a serious issue that has contributed to many serious truck accidents, and was implicated in the sinking of the MSC Napoli in 2007, the partial capsizing of the MV Deneb in 2011 and the July 2013 sinking of the 8,000TEU ‘MOL Comfort’ in the Indian Ocean.
On November 21, 2014, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC 94) officially adopted the new SOLAS requirement that as a condition for vessel loading, the weight of a packed export container must be verified by the shipper using either of the two permissible methods. The SOLAS container weight verification requirement applies to cargo received for transportation (gate-in or off-rail) and will enter into force on July 1, 2016. The SOLAS convention is applicable global law. This regulation places a requirement on the shipper of a packed container (shipper as defined on the shipping papers), regardless of who packed the container, to verify and provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship.
The full text of the applicable SOLAS regulations can be found here and the Implementing Guidelines issued by MSC are available here.
Under the SOLAS amendments, there are two permissible methods for weighing:
Method 1, which requires weighing the container after it has been packed, or
Method 2, which requires weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container.
See also a concise summary of the above requirements produced by the World Shipping Council (WSC).
We will continue to update you on this important subject as we gain and develop information from our ports, rail and trucking partners to help evaluate the most cost effective solution at the locations we operate and serve.