The British International Freight Association has given qualified support to last week’s decision by a sub-committee of the International Maritime Organization to approve a compromise proposal for verifying the weight of containers before they are loaded onboard ships.
The IMO sub-committee approved draft guidelines giving shippers two methods to verify the weight of a container - either by weighing the packed container, or by weighing all packages and cargo items and then adding the tare mass of an empty container.
“The compromise proposal was most probably the best possible outcome and BIFA will now work with its members to work out how they comply with the requirements of the new rules when they come into force, without adding significant costs or causing supply chain delays,“ says BIFA Director General, Peter Quantrill.
“BIFA notes that the proposal still has to navigate several stages through the IMO’s legislative process and, if successful, will most likely not come into force before May 2017.
“We understand that the draft guidelines will now be forwarded to the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) for approval in May 2014, and assuming that approval is forthcoming at that meeting, be formally adopted at a further meeting of the MSC in May 2015. It is usual for there to be a 24 month waiting period before SOLAS amendments take effect.“Clearly the implementation of the new rules is a lengthy process that should give the industry time to adapt and allow our members time to make sure that they continue to comply with their responsibilities to make accurate cargo declarations.”