Waits and Measures

Exim News Service relayed the following report from Brussels on Jan. 15th:

“Mandatory weighing of containers false remedy: ESC”

“The maritime industry’s call for stricter IMO regulation on the declaration of container weights is the wrong remedy for the container transport safety issues the sector is dealing with. According to the European Shipping Council (ESC), extra regulation of container weights will not solve the safety issues in container transport, is superfluous and hardly feasible.

“From reports of relatively recent accidents, it has become clear that something needs to be done about the safety standards in container transport at sea and on land. Especially accidents with trucks that rolled over, the loss of containers at sea, collapsing container stacks, etc., stressed an official release. ESC’s concern is now that the discussion is entirely focused on a relatively small risk factor, when it comes down to the safety of container transport, namely, misdeclared container weights. Instead of focusing on improving the much more important causes mentioned in the reports, like lacking procedures for lashing, ship maintenance and stowing, the maritime industry pleads for stricter regulation on container weights at shippers’ premises. Shippers believe this is a false remedy for an ill-defined disease.

“European shippers also expressed their doubts if IMO is the right institution for regulating container safety issues in itself. ESC’s representative said it is working together with labor unions and other parties in the maritime industry to get the voluntary UNECE/LO guidelines for container stuffing updated as soon as possible. According to ESC, it is this institution that should take the lead in improving the quality of container stuffing and possibly prescribe legislation on the issue. Poor stuffing is a problem for all modes of transport, not solely the maritime industry.

“Finally, ESC points out that IMO’s SOLAS regulation already holds a requirement that states that shippers should declare the weight of their containers correctly. Adding another one to it will not sole the issue of misdeclared weights. ‘We admit that misdeclaration of weights needs our attention but oppose the idea that it’s the biggest threat to the safety of workers in the supply chain. If the sector is truly looking for a safer supply chain, all parties should take their responsibility.'” –

Want to know why shippers feel that weighing containers is “superfluous and hardly feasible? Because there’s no way it can be done in their primitive methods of operation, that’s why.

Those same primitive methods of storage, retrieval and delivery are the causes of the difficulties the supply chain is having with stuffing, lashing, ship maintenance and stowing. Our patented systems for at sea and on shore container handling can easily solve all those problems and accommodate, as well, the maritime industry’s call for stricter IMO regulation on the declaration of container weights. But then you’d have a real problem. Ships and ports would be so secure that there’d be little or no call for the “make-work” Homeland Security Department. And the puppeteers wouldn’t like that.