Many countries unprepared for container weighing

There has been no guidance issued on the practical application of the measures regarding the implementation of the amendments to SOLAS VI.2 on container weighing in eighteen countries, a survey from the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA), an organisation representing the global ship agency and ship broking professions shows.

This is the second round of FONASBA’s survey on the status of implementation covering over 50 countries, tackling a wide range of topics from the nomination of the “designated authority” to treatment of transhipment containers.

The survey shows that with just three months to go before the 1st July deadline, the situation varies widely across more than 50 countries represented in FONASBA membership.

According to FONASBA, this situation has been exacerbated by the failure of governments to nominate the designated authority.

In terms of actually weighing the containers, many countries state that whilst using a weighbridge is expected to account for a significant proportion of all declarations, they also frequently report that the weighbridges necessary to achieve this are few in number and often in poor condition.

The cost of weighing the container also varies widely, with figures from free of charge to €200 being quoted.

Similarly, for calculating the weight by the sum of the parts, there is evidence that in many cases no provision has been made to ensure the process is regulated or undertaken in accordance with agreed principles, the survey further shows.

“It is staggering that with such little time left before implementation, a significant number of countries had so far failed to take action at national level to ensure that the required measures will be in place on time,” FONASBA’s President Designate and Liner & Port Agency Committee Chairman, John Foord, said.

“The SOLAS amendment has been under development in IMO for four years so it is worrying that at this late stage ship agents, forwarders and shippers in many countries still lack appropriate guidance as to how they should comply,” he added.

“The shipping lines are adamant that from that date containers presented for loading without a certificate of verified gross mass will not be carried onboard their vessels and no amount of posturing by shippers or, in some cases national authorities, will change that,” Foord concluded.

The United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to make it mandatory to weigh loaded containers before they are transported by sea in November 2014. The new international regulations take effect on 1 June 2016. The move is expected to enhance safety and prevent pollution of the marine environment.

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