Guidance Released on New Container Weighing Regulations

As the June 1, 2016 compliance date for new container weighing regulations approaches, the World Shipping Council (WSC) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) have released guidance for supply chain participants on complying with the rules, which will require that exporters certify container weights to shipping lines and terminal operators before ships are loaded. These new regulations were established under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and adopted by the IMO in 2014, and will improve safety best practices for loading container ships. The WSC and IMO guidance for the container weighing rule is available to TIA members here.

Under these new rules, all containers must be weighed as fully packed or, alternatively, the individual components (including the container) may be weighed separately by a “verified weighing company” prior to packing and sealing. The weight information for the packed container must be verified by the shipper and provided to the shipping line prior to loading. Shippers are ultimately responsible for verifying and supplying information on the weight of containers and cargo, though additional considerations do apply to the third-party logistics industry:

  • If a third party loader is used by a shipper, the shipper is still responsible for the accuracy of the verified weight and for providing the information to the shipping line.
  • Forwarders who arrange for transport of full containers must secure a verified weight from their shipper prior to tendering a load to the shipping line.
  • Consolidators or forwarders who work with less-than-container (LCL) freight from shippers, but who consolidate into full-container load shipments, must document the individual weights of the LCL packages within the container and submit those weights to the shipping line.

Shippers in many countries are concerned that facilities are not in place to weigh so many containers and that enforcement mechanisms for the new SOLAS rules remain unclear. These concerns are amplified by the trend in recent years among shipping lines towards bigger ships, many capable of carrying up to 20,000 containers.

TIA is the North American representative to FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders, and tracks issues such as the SOLAS rule through its International Logistics Conference. For more information on this rule, or if you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Will Sehestedt at or 703- 299-5713.