Damage to ships and injuries or deaths involving seafarers are expected to be greatly reduced once new overweight container regulations come into force in July 2016.
On 1 July, the World Shipping Council (WSC) published guidelines that shippers, carriers, and terminal operators can use to meet the SOLAS weight verification scheme.
The WSC emphasised that starting next year, shippers will be required to verify the gross weight of a packed export container before the container is loaded aboard ship. The rules stipulate that packed containers received at a port for export without a verified gross weight shall not be loaded on a vessel until weight verification is obtained.
Any costs incurred by vessel or terminal operators for obtaining a gross weight if a shipper fails to provide it in a timely manner are commercial matters for the parties to determine, WSC noted.
The guidelines also stipulate that port facilities and vessel operators do not need to re-weigh a packed inbound container that is to be transshipped if the container was delivered with a verified weight on a vessel from the previous leg of the voyage.
The WSC said that the year-long period before the rules go into force should “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”.