5 July 2016 by Tom Goulding

Container weight rules will bring ‘clarity’ to exports

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has clarified new rules for verifying the weight of containers for exporting cargo such as recyclables.

The Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) amendment, which came into effect on 1 July, means containers are now required to have a verified gross mass before they can be loaded on to a ship.

MSC has responded to new rules surrounding containers weights and what this means for shippers © Sabine Vielmo

MSC has responded to new rules surrounding containers weights and what this means for shippers © Sabine Vielmo

However, as well as the potential of increased costs, UK recycling exporters could also have to contend with delays in communication between the shipping line and the terminal – leading to material building up at ports or even being sent back (see letsrecycle.com story).

Clarifying the position of the shipping lines in complying with the regulations, MSC told letsrecycle.com that accurate reporting of container weights should mean “more efficiency” in how they are handled, and ensure “faster release of cargo”.

Am MSC spokeswoman said: “In the container shipping industry, shippers are legally responsible for declaring cargo weight truly and accurately. In some cases, inaccuracies have been reported upon random inspections by the port authority, terminals, police, and by the shipping lines. These inaccuracies could potentially lead to a higher likelihood of accidents and issues.

“Misrepresentation or mis-declaration of cargo weight can happen in any commodity.  In our experience as a carrier of recyclable materials, the majority of our clients in this field will weigh their container prior to it leaving their collection site and exercise a responsible approach to not over loading containers.  MSC takes care to ensure that these are reputable, licenced companies.”

‘Robust’

MSC added: “That being said, this new regulation brings clarity and more robust processes for all parties in the supply chain which will result in improved standards of safety. We are pleased to see the introduction of a legal obligation such as this, where the net result is better safety for all involved in the supply chain.

“We have been working hard to support our customers with the implementation of SOLAS VGM, investing in our eCommerce, of which allows customers to have an easy method of communicating their verified gross mass to MSC.”

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