Starting July 1, 2016, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee approved amendments to The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Seas’ (SOLAS), will require that shippers verify gross container weight prior to shipping.
But now, according to a report in the WSJ, IMO says ‘practical and pragmatic’ three-month grace period would calm exporter fears of widespread backups.
The top global shipping regulator, trying to quiet industry alarms over impending rules that exporters fear will trigger widespread backups at ports, is recommending a three-month grace period for enforcing the ship-safety rule.
Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. released a survey of shipping customers and providers on Monday that showed “much confusion” over how the requirements can be met, and strong belief that exports will be delayed.
The Maritime Safety Committee said
in a statement Monday that government agencies should postpone enforcement of the requirement that shippers verify the weight of containers before they can be loaded to give operators more time to put together the systems needed to meet the mandate.
The IMO, the arm of the United Nations that regulates shipping safety, said it recognizes the concerns raised about the new rule, which will require shippers to report the “verified gross mass” of every container before it’s loaded onto a ship, starting July 1.
Mis-declaration of a container’s weight occurs when a shipper reduces the weight in its shipping document, sometimes in an attempt to lower shipping costs. But it may also occur when shippers merely estimate a container’s weight or fail to include the tare weight or dunnage in their calculations.
Industry experts believe that approximately 20% of containers at any given time are mis-declared, and that upwards of 2/3 of all cargo claims may be attributed to mis-declaration and poor container packing. From 2006 to 2011 alone, an estimated $12.8 million dollars in losses stemmed from mis-declaration of cargo weight.