Container weighing: With three months to go, here's how to do it

It’s now less than three months until the new container weighing legislation, under the IMO’s International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), comes into force.

From 1st July, every container will require a verified proof of weight before being loaded onto a ship. Containers without a verified proof of weight will be rejected by the port.

The new legislation is all about safety of life at sea. After several high-profile incidents over the past ten years, it was only a matter of time before the issue of overweight containers was addressed.

Marsden has been following the developments associated with this new ruling for some time, and we’ve been updating you as we receive information. Of course, as these things usually go, new snippets of information have filtered through to us from the industry bodies in dribs and drabs.

There is still a lot of uncertainty within the industry: in terms of shippers not being aware of how they will be affected by the ruling. But, mostly, in terms of how they are actually going to meet the requirements.

Remember - the proof of weight will need to be provided before you reach port - you cannot weigh your container once at port (this would be an impractical solution anyway. If it was overweight you’d have to start emptying it!).

At Marsden, however, we have introduced a new solution for those affected by the container weighing regulations. This blog post gives you a simple step by step guide on how you can use it and meet the regulations.

To be able to provide a verified proof of weight, you will need to be a registered, verified weigher - or you will need to use a verified weighing company to do the weighing for you. It will be the responsibility of the shipper to get the verified weight.

If you are a verified weigher, there are two ways to get your weight reading:

  1. Weigh the goods before it’s loaded onto the container, and adding this to the container’s tare weight
  2. Weigh the container once it has been loaded, subtracting the tare weight of the container

As the first option is the more practical, we have tailored our solution to this.

The PB-1200-DI-620P-APP consists of two portable beams and an indicator with in-built printer. Since Tim Cornish of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency recently confirmed to us that weighing equipment used will need to be Trade Approved, so the PB-1200-DI-620P-APP is a Trade Approved solution.

Plus, it’s portable enough for it to be taken out on the road in the cab of a container lorry if need be.

Firstly, weigh your goods as it is added to the container. This can be done by placing the goods - palletised or boxed may work best - onto the beams, using a forklift or pallet truck.

There is an optional inverter for the indicator, so that it can be powered from the cigarette lighter in the cab. It has an AC adaptor as standard, too.

Next, you need to print out a record of the results. Once everything has been weighed and loaded into the container, the results can be printed by using the indicator’s in-built printer.

This print-out can then be attached to the bill of ladings. The weight data, with the date and time included on the print out, is your verified proof of weight.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to keep your Trade Approved weighing solution - whatever solution you ultimately choose - in full working order, and we recommend a calibration check once a year. The  Maritime & Coastguard Agency told us: “Users are expected to maintain and calibrate their equipment and be able to prove that they have done so. It is anticipated that the audit process will involve a certain number of spot checks on approved weighers per year, which may involve a site visit.”

Marsden can provide that yearly calibration check for your container weighing equipment. If you’d like more information on this, the PB-1200-DI-620P-APP, or the container weighing regulations, you contact us here.

Additionally, we will be publishing a video on how to use the PB-1200-DI-620P-APP in the next couple of weeks.

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