Global Consolidators Working Group(GCWG) has urged the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an arm of the United Nations that regulates shipping safety, to provide more detail about the much-debated container verification rules, set to be introduced by July 1, according to a report in WSJ.
Consolidators say an impending rule demanding certified weights for shipping containers leaves their business boxed out.
The Global Consolidators Working Group called for more clarification, both on how the rule will be policed and how each of 170 or so countries will enforce it.
The letter, signed by executives from CaroTrans International Inc., Shipco Transport Inc. and others, says that the lack of information, transparency and guidance makes it nearly impossible (and certainly impractical) for shippers to implement necessary arrangements to comply properly.
GCWG’s complaint comes as both importers and exporters around the world have raised concerns that the rule, adopted as an amendment to the IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention, known as SOLAS, would levy an unfair burden on shippers.
"As 1 July deadline draws closer, importers and exporters have raised concerns that the rule, adopted as an amendment to the IMO’s SOLA), will impose a significant burden on shippers and could lead to supply chain disruptions," says the letter.
Currently, shippers are only required to estimate the weight of the contents in containers, but don't have to sign off on the weight of pallets or other materials inside the boxes, or the containers themselves.
Container lines and some port operators have said they will turn away any containers where the gross mass has not been properly verified.
According to one major shipper, the confusion and potential for delays could cause the sea freight business more upset even than last year’s west coast port chaos.