Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Weigh boxes at dock gate, urge industry leaders.;jsessionid=DE69DB6EAFD4B634046590EE4C5917A4

DRAMATIC improvements in container shipping safety would be achieved by weighing every box at the dock gate, industry leaders said today as they unveiled best practice guidelines.

Ensuring that container weights are accurately declared would eliminate many of the accidents that have dogged the industry in recent years and go some way towards satisfying regulators who are starting to take a closer look at industry standards.

The International Chamber of Shipping and the World Shipping Council produced the document, that sets out recommended procedures for each stage of a container move, following failings that were highlighted during the investigation into a container stack collapse on the shortsea ship Annabella in 2007.

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch was particularly critical about the lack of a code of practice for container shipping and urged the ICS to remedy this situation.

Container shipping came under further scrutiny when MSC Napoli was grounded early last year, but that accident also provided a unique opportunity to conduct a forensic examination of a containership and its cargo. Investigators discovered that around a fifth of all containers MSC Napoli had been carrying were either badly packed, inaccurately labelled, or the wrong weight.

The biggest problem, though, is shipper ignorance of the risks they are taking with the lives of others by not stuffing and labelling containers properly, or weighing them accurately.

Mr Hinchliffe is urging ports to weigh all containers entering their gates to verify that the declared weight was correct.

“We recognise that this is not achievable at all terminals at present, but we want this to become the international expectation,” he said.

Over-heavy or underweight containers should not be loaded onto the ship, a sanction that would soon persuade shippers “to take the subject more seriously”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have been telling them this for years