Misdeclared container cargo weights have been a long-standing problem for the transportation industry and for governments. The problem is significant and arises in almost every trade, and misdeclared container weights present safety hazards for ships, their crews, other cargo on board, workers in the port facilities handling containers, and on roads. Incorrectly declared weights lead to incorrect ship stowage and accidents. Misdeclared container weights facilitate unlawful evasion of Customs tariffs and duties, while also impairing Customs authorities’ ability to perform accurate cargo security risk assessment.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is on the verge of addressing this recognized and documented safety problem. The collective work and agreement of 15 governments and 13 industry groups have forged a compromise solution for the IMO’s consideration in mid-September (DSC 18). This compromise should be adopted as a long-needed improvement to maritime safety.
The IMO has recognized and discussed the problem of incorrect container weights for over six years. With the input of many governments and industry organizations, the IMO now has before it an openly and carefully negotiated and crafted compromise proposal for addressing this recognized and documented safety and Customs problem. That proposal also includes carefully considered implementation guidelines as requested by DSC 17.