Executive Briefings

Deadline Coming for Accurate Declaration of Ocean Container Weights

When the MSC Napoli ran aground off the UK's south coast in January 2007, 137 out of the 600 containers it was carrying on deck were at least 10 percent heavier or lighter than was declared on the ship's manifest. In another high-profile accident, the capsizing of the Xpress Container Line vessel Deneb during unloading at Algeciras in June 2011, an even higher percentage of boxes - 64 out of 150 - were not laden as recorded.

"The tendency is to assume that the weight on the booking form is the actual weight -- this must account for a large proportion of misdeclarations," said  Richard Marks, director of the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association. "There's human error as well."

The degree of "variation", as he described it - error ratios of 22 percent in the case of the Napoli and 42 percent for the Deneb - were no surprise. The question for Marks was what the industry is going to do about it.

The issue is becoming more urgent because shippers could be required by law within three years to verify weight before containers are loaded onboard ship.

Parties to the Safety of Life at Sea convention agreed an amendment in September 2012 stipulating that a container should either be weighed in its entirety, or its contents weighed separately and added to the tare weight of the box.

Marks said the International Maritime Organization would consider the amendment in September this year and would probably adopt it in December 2014, leading to an entry into force in July 2016.

Source: British International Freight Organisation


Keywords: transportation management, supply chain risk management, ocean container weights and dimensions, ocean container misdeclarations, ocean transportation regulations

"The tendency is to assume that the weight on the booking form is the actual weight -- this must account for a large proportion of misdeclarations," said  Richard Marks, director of the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association. "There's human error as well."

The degree of "variation", as he described it - error ratios of 22 percent in the case of the Napoli and 42 percent for the Deneb - were no surprise. The question for Marks was what the industry is going to do about it.

The issue is becoming more urgent because shippers could be required by law within three years to verify weight before containers are loaded onboard ship.

Parties to the Safety of Life at Sea convention agreed an amendment in September 2012 stipulating that a container should either be weighed in its entirety, or its contents weighed separately and added to the tare weight of the box.

Marks said the International Maritime Organization would consider the amendment in September this year and would probably adopt it in December 2014, leading to an entry into force in July 2016.

Source: British International Freight Organisation


Keywords: transportation management, supply chain risk management, ocean container weights and dimensions, ocean container misdeclarations, ocean transportation regulations