Are You Responsible for New Cargo Weighing Requirements?

2-minute read

Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) Secretary-General Chris Welsh was in New Zealand recently, attending the NZ Shippers’ Council annual meeting and also for comprehensive meetings with Government officials.

I caught up with him for a chat, to find out what are the current major topics occupying the GSF globally, and which could be of particular interest to Kiwi shippers. He underlined on which is prominent.

A big problem is container weight verification, in line with new IMO rules coming into force in July 2016, whereby a box being loaded on to an international vessel must either have its weight verified by actual weighing, or by the shipper calculating the total weight for the box and contents.

This second method will need standardisation and I understand Maritime NZ is to go out to the NZ industry for formal consultation soon.  Mr.Welsh says a lot of work is going on to establish the specific standards that will apply internationally.

“The UK is out of the blocks with an accreditation scheme for shippers using audit-based systems, which we are very close to rolling out.

“There is not just interest from shippers. There is clear interest from carriers in ensuring there is some commonality in systems internationally.”

He says NZ already has comparatively high standards of monitoring because of the perishables/ reefer trade, so the standards of cargo, care here are beyond many other countries.

However, one area which he may have been missed by many observers is where the legal liability rests for weight inaccuracies.

“Responsibility lies with the party that formally signs the contract with the carrier. Hence, freight forwarders could legally be liable if handling FCL [full container load] boxes where the packing was done by the original shipper.

“It is very important that all parties in the chain understand where their responsibilities lie.”

Source: NZ Shipping Gazette.

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