From July this year an import change to the SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations comes into effect that will impact on all containers sent by ship, worldwide. Each container’s gross mass will have to be declared at export using weighing equipment that has been certified as being accurate.
The background is that overweight containers played a key role in the breakup and beaching of the MSC Napoli in the United Kingdom in 2007, along with the capsizing of the Daneb, a 500-TEU feeder ship, in the Spanish port of Algeciras in June 2011.
There will be two methods allowed to determine the weight of the contents of a container, plus the container and these are:
Weigh the container and its contents on a calibrated and certified instrument such as a weighbridge or other suitable piece of equipment.
Weigh all of the cargo items being loaded into the container along with dunnage and any other securing and lashing equipment. The tare weight of the container which is noted on the container specification plate is then added to everything loaded in the container to arrive a to a total gross weight.
It is important to bear in mind that this regulation has been incorporated into UK law and so compliance is a requirement under law.
We are not sure at this stage what the penalties will be for non-compliance but at the least we expect containers found to have an incorrect weight on arrival at port of export will be impounded until the correct weight is determined and penalties as issued paid.