03.08.2015 – New IMO regulations requiring verification of a freight container’s gross mass will become mandatory from 1 July 2016. But many organisations – and nations – are not prepared for this significant change to global container operations. With time running short for industry sectors and governments to decide their response, ICHCA International will hold a 1-day seminar on ‘Container Weight Verification: Regulation to Implementation’ in London this September 11 to discuss how the new legislation can be implemented and enforced with minimum disruption to container logistics chains.
Hosted at the London offices of international law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), the seminar will see the official launch of the UK’s Accredited Shipper approval scheme by the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) and Freight Transport Association (FTA), with participation from Chris Welsh, GSF Secretary General and FTA’s Director of Global & European Policy.
The ocean carrier’ perspective will be given by Lars Kjaer, Senior Vice President, World Shipping Council (WSC). The carrier body has recently called on shippers to prepare for the new regime and has just issued its own guidelines, which Mr Kjaer will discuss at the seminar.
The regulators’ view will come from Loukas Kontogiannis, Technical Officer, Subdivision for Marine Technology and Cargoes, at IMO’s Maritime Safety Division, Keith Bradley of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) – who will outline how MCA has approached enforcement, and Richard Thomas of the UK Office of Road and Rail (ORR).
During the day, a round table debate on ‘From Legislation to Implementation – Making it Happen’ will feature TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, joined among others by Robert Windsor of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) and Rob van Leijen of Dutch forwarding and logistics body FENEX. TT Club has recently warned that forwarders, LSPs and NVOCCs could find themselves bearing the brunt of responsibility for the actual ‘verified’ declaration as “the person whose name is placed on the ocean carrier’s bill of lading.”
The Club has also called for more discussion of weighing technologies, both at the port and earlier in the chain, including the need for an international standard governing calibration and measurement accuracy. Technology innovation and practicalities for physical weighing of containers will another key topic at the seminar, including presentations from ICHCA, ETS Consulting and Conductix-Wampfler.
It has of course been widely anticipated that ports will become the ‘frontline’ for container weight verification, and the major terminal operators and ocean carriers have been busy assessing the impact of this likely outcome. Alongside practical and operational considerations, “commercial considerations are paramount in terms of whether there could be additional cost implications and which party, or parties, will bear these. This could particularly be an issue where containers arrive at terminals without a verified gross mass having been communicated to the carrier and/or terminal at, or before, gate-in, ” noted Matthew Gore, Senior Associate at HFW in a recent post. Mr. Gore will wrap up the ICHCA seminar with a closing session on the legal, contractual and commercial implications of the new rules.
“With participation and views from shippers, forwarders, ocean carriers, ports and terminals, road and rail transport , insurance and legal, and regulators, this will be a truly cross-party debate, as befits a major legislative development that will impact so many parties along the cargo handling and transport chain, ” said ICHCA International Chairman David Bendall.