Weighing Containers

Over the past couple of years, the topic of weighing shipping containers has come to the foreground for shipping lines and people in the shipping industry. About a year ago there were proposals to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that every container should be weighed before loading onto a ship. This proposal was made in order to quash people from declaring incorrect weights for their shipping containers thereby causing mis-loading these containers on ships which can create a dangerous problem for ships while in transit.

While this may seem like a reasonable proposal, the shipping lines see it otherwise. Weighing each container upon arrival will take additional time for containers to be checked in which can create bottlenecks at the ports. Some people think this will not be an issue given that each container is gated in separately anyway, but the costs related is also an issue. Who will pay for the additional costs involved to set up this new process and keep it moving at every commercial shipping port in the world? Some people think that if they use spreader based twist locks and automatic weight recording there would be no extra steps and therefore no additional costs in loading each container. No matter how they go about changes, there will be a process change if everyone agrees.

While there is a general agreement in principle, there have been no conclusive declarations to implement this proposal. This is a major proposal that will affect every port and most international shipping companies if it is implemented. So far the proposals have not grown into anything permanent but this year we should see some sort of agreement that will accept or decline the new ideas regarding weighing containers.