FONASBA, which supports the accurate verification of container weights, said a second survey of its members in over 50 countries found that in 18 no practical guidance had been issued on practical application of the new measures. Furthermore in some cases governments until very recently had no nominated a designated authority for the measures.
The amendment to SOLAS by the IMO on the mandatory verification of container weights comes into force on 1 July and governments and the industry have had four weeks to prepare for its introduction.
“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,” said John Foord, FONABSA’s president designate and liner & port agency committee chairman.
How the weight of containers will be verified varies. Many countries state that a weighbridge should be used, however, in some it is reported there are few weighbridges and they are in poor condition. The cost of using a weighbridge can vary significantly – from free of charge to $200.
“This is one of the most important developments in maritime transport since the introduction of the container itself and the potential for significant disruption on 1 July (or even earlier in the case of some transhipment containers) is considerable,” Foord 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.”
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