A slew of associations co-sponsored a proposal asking the International Maritime Organization to require loaded containers be weighed to determine their actual weight.

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), Japan; the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), London; the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), London; the World Shipping Council (WSC), Washington, D.C.; BIMCO; Denmark; The Netherlands and the United States issued a formal proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), London, to require loaded containers be weighed to determine their actual weight. The IMO’s Subcommittee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers will consider the proposal at its next meeting in September.

“Misdeclared container weights are a recurring safety problem on shore, on ships and on roadways. It is time to fix that problem. We are pleased that there is such a broad cross-section of industry and government agreement on a specific and effective remedy,” says Torben Skaanild, secretary general of BIMCO.

“The co-sponsors of this proposal are recommending a legal requirement that port terminal operators and ships must have a verified container weight in order to export a loaded container. This will protect workers in the port, on the ship and other cargo owners against the various risks created by misdeclared containers,” says Peter Hinchliffe, secretary general of ICS.

“The major players of the industry dealing with the handling of containers have chosen to make the transport of the ‘box’ even safer than before. The ITF, representing more than 4.6 million workers, welcomes this initiative, and will continue to work for a safe, productive and sustainable transport industry,” says Frank Leys, secretary of the ITF dockers’ section.

“For years, the United States has required all its export containers to be weighed. This has not impaired supply chain efficiency and it has improved safety. The technology exists to weigh containers accurately and efficiently, and it should be a universal, required practice,” says Dr. Geraldine Knatz, president of IAPH and executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

“The governments that have co-sponsored this proposal have been leaders at the IMO on the issue of maritime safety. Industry and labor are very pleased to have their support in the efforts to amend the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and establish an effective solution to this safety issue,” says Christopher Koch, president and CEO of the World Shipping Council.