WEIGHING containers - full or empty - will be become a necessary part of
shipping life, according to delegates attending a London conference
sponsored by the insurance group, UK P&I Club. Tuesday, 18.Jan.2011, 01:46 (GMT+3)
WEIGHING containers - full or empty - will be become a necessary part of shipping life, according to delegates attending a London conference sponsored by the insurance group, UK P&I Club.
The consensus at the conference - "Weighing containers: Is it really that difficult?" - was that carriers operating their own terminals would be best placed to start the process, followed by terminal operators with strong links to specific shipping lines.
Typically, late arriving containers are often the heaviest and can only conveniently be placed high above the weather deck, hence risking instability of the vessel in heavy seas. Even under normal circumstances, proper vessel stowage should take account of container weights more than it does today, say experts.
The conference, held last June, but whose proceedings have recently been published, was kicked off with a session dedicated to equipment that is designed to weigh containers.
There was also a strong case made for weighing unaccompanied trailers before loading on ro-ro vessels, which is already mandatory on RoPax vessels carrying 12 or more passengers.
It was important, some said, to weigh empties as there have been cases when they were loaded with waste and to put these on board a vessel with real empties, which risked a "stack collapse".
Security experts also said an explosive device placed in an empty container would stand a better chance of being detected if empties were weighed.
On December 1, 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 before stowage.
Implementation of any legislation on this subject is years away, but terminal operators would do well not to leave everything until the last minute, said conference organisers.