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Mandatory container weighing proposal ‘doomed to fail’

Global – Asian shippers have again hit out at International Maritime Organization (IMO) plans for the mandatory weighing of all containers as ‘doomed to fail’, maritime news website reports.

Last week, the IMO sub-committee on dangerous goods, solid cargoes and containers accepted compromise proposals by shipping firms and governments providing for two independent methods to verify container weights.

The Asian Shippers’ Council (ASC) claims the decision has been made ‘with proper representation’ of shippers, the party with most at stake. They note that the ASC and the European Shippers’ Council (ESC) represent 75% of global shippers but were not consulted. According to the ASC, there was ‘no consideration of the difficulties that 100% verification of gross weight of containers would create in the supply chain’, describing mandatory weighing and verification of gross weight of containers as ‘doomed to fail’.

ASC chairman John Lu has highlighted the difficulties of implementing 100% weighing of containers in emerging markets, many of which are large exporters. ‘There are millions of shippers across Asia, with different levels of maturity and different operational constraints,’ he says. ‘Before arriving at a key gateway for export, cargoes may have to use multiple modes of transport – trucks, ships and/or rail. Can you imagine trying to implement what is agreed at the IMO in such a challenging environment?’

According to Lu, a one-size-fits-all solution will not work in the emerging markets of Africa and Latin America. ‘It has not worked for 100% security screening and it will not work for 100% verification of gross weight of containers,’ he insists.

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