Under declared tonnage in shipping containers, deliberate or not, has the potential to put lives at risk. Gantries, fork lift trucks and other handling equipment may not be up to the strain and, in worst case scenarios, ships can be incorrectly loaded leading to instability.
Last June saw a conference sponsored by the UK P&I Club titled “Weighing containers: Is it really that difficult?” and the results of the proceedings have now been published:
On the 1st December, the World Shipping Council (WSC) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) announced that they were urging the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to establish an international legal requirement that all loaded containers be weighed at the marine port facility before they are stowed aboard a vessel for export. This has major ramifications for ship owners and terminals alike as the IMO is unlikely to ignore these two powerful bodies.
One point stressed by several delegates was that it is important to weigh ALL containers, including empties. Apparently there have been a number of cases where ‘empty’ containers have been found to be loaded with waste products and to put these on board a vessel in a stack containing genuine empties could easily initiate a stack collapse.