The IMO sub-committee approved draft guidelines giving shippers two methods to verify the weight of a container – either by weighing the packed container, or by weighing all packages and cargo items and then adding the tare mass of an empty container.
“The compromise proposal was most probably the best possible outcome and BIFA will now work with its members to work out how they comply with the requirements of the new rules when they come into force, without adding significant costs or causing supply chain delays,“ says BIFA director general, Peter Quantrill.
The proposal still has to navigate several stages through the IMO’s legislative process and, if successful, will most likely not come into force before May 2017.
“We understand that the draft guidelines will now be forwarded to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for approval in May 2014, and assuming that approval is forthcoming at that meeting, be formally adopted at a further meeting of the MSC in May 2015. It is usual for there to be a 24 month waiting period before SOLAS amendments take effect.
Global Shippers Forum (GSF) Secretary General, Chris Welsh believes the proposal is good for maritime safety. “The outcome is a sensible compromise, and we are pleased that the IMO listened carefully to shippers’ arguments regarding appropriate methods for verification.
“GSF has worked constructively with the IMO and maritime stakeholders throughout this process to find a workable solution for all, and will now continue to work with carriers and other stakeholders in the maritime supply chain to implement the weight verification requirements. GSF maintains that the majority of shippers act responsibly and comply with their responsibilities to make accurate cargo declarations.”