The new rules designed to prevent accidents caused by overloaded containers went live on 1 July.
The International Maritime Organisations Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) convention now state that all containers must be weighed before embarkation.
Whilst some weighing is being done at the ports; some have axle weighing systems, others have weighing equipment built into the dock loaders, finding that your container is overloaded when you get to the port might be too late and present problems.
The Regulations do in fact state that the weight must be presented to the Master of the vessel in sufficient time for a stowage plan to be prepared. There are contingencies for obtaining the weight when a container arrives at the port without it but there could be costs attached to the shipper if the port have to do the weighing.
Customers have approached us about weighing containers before they leave their sites using our dynamic axle weighbridge. We advise them that it is perfectly feasible and existing systems can even have a minor software modification to allow the entry of additional information such as container number.
|Axtec Dynamic Axle Weighbridges used for container weighing|
The largest trucks can be weighed in around 40 seconds and accuracy of 0.5% is achievable with the right installation. Two-way operation is also possible which means that the tare weight of a truck can be obtained prior to the container being loaded onto the trailer as well.
The consequences of a vessel being overloaded can be catastrophic. With an incorrect centre of gravity, containers can fall overboard and be lost forever. The paperwork in making an insurance claim would almost certainly be time consuming and tedious but the loss of a shipment means customers not having their orders fulfilled.
But that’s the least worst outcome. A stack of containers collapsing whilst a ship is at sea could have extremely serious consequences and it has even been known for a ship to break its back due to severe overloading.
The Safety Of Life At Sea regulations mean exactly that and preventing overload containers from getting onboard makes perfect sense.
For the transport operator, obtaining the weight of containers prior to shipping by investing in their own weighing facility also makes perfect sense. It’s a one-off cost which is then available for evermore and will minimise delays at the port and the cost of having them obtain the weight for you.
And the added benefit of ensuring your vehicles are not overloaded when they leave your yard and go out on the road is almost a side issue, albeit a very important one.