The new database of container tare weight data recently announced by the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) is now live, with more than half a million containers already uploaded and new files being added daily. Container owners and operators are encouraged to sign up now to upload their fleet files to the database, and shippers are invited to start using the data right away.
The Technical Characteristics Database (TCD) is now accessible on the following website: www.bic-boxtech.org
The pilot database, which was launched by the BIC in response to the new SOLAS* mandatory container weight verification requirements in effect from 1st July 2016, provides an easy-to-access source of container tare weight data to help support carriers, shippers, forwarders and other intermediaries. New container data is being added to the TCD by carriers and leasing companies every day.
“Following months of working closely with container owners, operators and shippers, the TCD was developed to provide a simple, effective tool that helps shippers, owners and operators to reduce their workload and improve efficiency, ” explainsBertrand Geoffray, Secretary General of the BIC. “For total simplicity, the sole focus of the TCD is to capture the technical characteristics of a container, including tare weight, alongside the container’s operational number, ”
The new database offers access to data supplied by the first partners of the pilot project and additional carriers are uploading fleet details on an ongoing basis. Container owners and operators are welcome to sign up online straight away in order to start uploading fleet files, and to allow owners and operators to update fleet details automatically going forward, APIs will be available very soon. Once fully populated, the database will enable all users to access a vast source of container tare weight and other technical characteristics simply by querying the container number.
Shippers, and other parties wishing to access the data, can now do so via the secure TCD website www.bic-boxtech.org. The API, which will be live shortly, will also provide the option to automatically integrate data into shipper and forwarder systems. Either method offers a simpler alternative to visiting multiple websites or obtaining this information from the container door.
Geoffray continues “There has been a lot of support from across the industry since the BIC announced the launch of the TCD, recognizing the importance of a central source of this type of container data. However we are keen for more parties to contribute to this significant project in the coming weeks. We urge owners and operators to get involved and start uploading container data to the database now.”
The minimum data elements required to participate in the TCD are the container number and tare weight, but, to achieve the full benefit of the database, the BIC is encouraging owners to upload as many of the technical details as possible.
The database is particularly useful for ‘Method 2’ shippers, those adding cargo and securing material weight to the container tare weight to obtain the Verified Gross Mass (VGM), and also benefits carriers and leasing companies, who will be able to provide automated tare weight access without having to invest time or money on multiple integrations or requests for individual tare weights. It also simplifies access to tare weights in the event of containers being traded between parties.
Beyond the benefits related to compliance with SOLAS*, the database will also allow companies such as terminals, rail operators and hauliers to improve efficiency by conveniently accessing container details using only the operational number, while in the event of an accident, insurers and investigators may benefit from the database with access to technical details. In addition, including the manufacturer ID number within the technical characteristics of a container will make the database useful in the event of container loss, insurance claims and recoveries.
The pilot phase of the database, which is expected to last until the end of the year, is being provided free of charge to all parties. After this, the program will be evaluated with industry partners before full roll-out. In any case, the TCD will only be operated as a non-profit, non-commercial service.
The TCD can be accessed at www.bic-boxtech.org
*SOLAS – International Maritime Organization “Safety of Life at Sea” Convention
About the BIC
Founded under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce in 1933 as a neutral, non-profit, international organization, the BIC today has over 2100 members in over 120 countries. The BIC has played an important role in the growth of containerization, with its long-established and active role in the development of industry standards and its appointment by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1972 as the industry’s global container prefix registry – a registry further endorsed by international customs conventions. Since 2013 the BIC has also operated the Global ACEP Database, under the guidance of the IMO.
Today, the BIC code is the “international calling card” of nearly every container in international trade, allowing for proper identification and facilitating the crossing of borders without delay. With a mission to promote the safe, secure and sustainable expansion of intermodal transportation, the BIC enables professional dialogue amongst its members, standards bodies, governments and other industry organizations. The BIC holds official observer status as a NGO at both the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO), and contributes regularly as an observer to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and other organizations.