New Container Weighing Rule May be Delayed Up To One Year

Shippers and third-party logistics companies are currently preparing for the implementation of a new international rule mandating that container weights be verified prior to loading on cargo vessels. The rule, which was approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2014, is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016, and would be enforced by the United States Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard has yet to publish guidelines for industry stakeholders on how the agency will implement the container weighing regulation, and there remains the possibility under international law that the United States may notify the IMO of up to a one-year delay.

Implementation of the container weighing rule will require that shippers or third-party logistics providers must provide a verified weight of a loaded container to the shipping line before the container can be put on board the ship. That verified weight can be determined either by weighing the loaded container on a scale that has been certified as accurate by government authorities, or the individual contents can be weighed on certified scales and then have their masses added to the tare weight of the unloaded container.

Gross mass information on loaded containers has been required of shippers by ocean carriers since 1994. However, the lack of enforcement of the existing rule, and the lack of clarity in how the new rule would be enforced, have led to backlash from industry.

TIA’s International Logistics Conference will continue to monitor this regulation as additional developments occur. To participate in the International Logistics Conference, or for more information, please contact Will Sehestedt at 703-299-5713 or