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Ports prepare for mandatory weighing of containers

Ports prepare for mandatory weighing of containers
Felixstowe in the UK has become the latest port to confirm that it will offer a container weighing service to ensure shippers are able to comply with amended SOLAS regulations coming into force on 1 July 2016.

Commenting on the new service, Port of Felixstowe coo Stephen Abraham, said:“We have met with many customers and from their feedback it is clear that there is still a lot of uncertainty amongst exporters about the new rules.” Full details of the new service will be provided in time for compliance, he added.

Amended SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations require shippers to provide a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for all ocean containers before they are loaded aboard ship, in order for carriers to be able to draw up appropriate ship stowage plans.

IMO’s new rules have been introduced following safety fears that mis-declared weights were causing container stacks to collapse and/or causing stability problems aboard laden boxships. As the deadline for their entry into force approaches, however, fears are rising that they could cause serious disruptions to supply chains.

At a Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) seminar on the subject last week in London, hosted by lawyers Holman Fenwick Willan,

a representative of Port of Tilbury’s London Container Terminal said they planned to offer container weighing but would levy a fee for the service on the carrier, who would in turn have to claim it back from the shipper - whose legal responsibility it will be from 1 July onwards to provide the VGM.