The International Maritime Organisation met this week and discussed the implementation of the new container weight verification rules due to come into force this July.
The need to verify the gross mass of a loaded container (VGM) before loading will become legally binding on 1 July 2016 with two weighing methods have been put forward.
At the meeting organised by the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association in London, the Global Shippers’ Forum highlighted the need for countries to work together.
Also on the panel were representatives from the World Shipping Council and TT Club as Head of Policy as Global Shippers’ Forum, Alex Veitch concentrated on ‘Method 2’ – this sees the weight of all individual items and packaging added together. Method 1 involves weighing the packed container using certified and calibrated equipment.
Shippers who use ‘Method 2’ are allowed to calculate the gross mass of the item and packaging instead of weighing them individually on the proviso that an audit system authorised by the national government of the country in which the are operating is being used. This can lead to efficiencies in both time and expense.
As the July deadline looms, international companies are struggling to come to terms with understand the requirements of ‘Method 2’. There also appears to be some variance in the guidance given in some countries.
The Global Shippers’ Forum has advised member states to follow international standards as far as possible in their ‘Method 2’ authorisation process, such as ISO 9001 or comparable quality management standards. It is envisaged that this will help companies to create accurate container weight information without impacting too much on trade.
Looking forward, the Global Shippers’ Forum called for member states to mutually recognise each other’s ‘Method 2’ authorisation, operating on a similar basis to bilateral arrangements between countries on customs issues.
Mr Veitch said: “International shippers prefer to use international quality management standards as far as possible, to ensure all their sites around the world meet regulated requirements. We urge governments to publish their guidance for Container Weight Verification as soon as possible and to consider the use of ISO 9001 or similar standards in their ‘Method 2’ requirements.”