New Container Shipping Rule Could Cause Port Congestion
A collection of global shipping logistics companies sent a letter to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to clarify details on a new container-weighing requirement that could make big changes in the global shipping industry.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Global Consolidators Working Group said in a letter to IMO that the rule, which requires shippers to verify the weight of their containers before they're loaded, is too vague to enforce.
"The lack of information, transparency and guidance makes it nearly impossible (and certainly impractical) for shippers to implement necessary arrangements to comply properly," the letter, signed by executives from companies, such as CaroTrans International Inc. and Shipco Transport Inc, said, according to The Wall Street Journal
Now, shippers only have to estimate the weight of their containers, but this can lead to misreporting of container weight, which can cause accidents, such as collapsing containers or even capsizing.
The Wall Street Journal reported that some carriers and port operators claimed that they will turn away containers whose weight wasn't properly reported. With a risk of missed shipments, this could affect retailers that depend on ocean shipping.
"This whole … regulation is going to make [last year's West Coast labor struggles] look small," Jack Oney, logistics purchasing manager at Procter & Gamble Co., said to The Wall Street Journal.
Requiring shippers to weigh entire containers would force shippers to change how they communicate information to the carriers, which, in turn, could lead to congestion like the port experienced last year. Additional weighing services and extra transportation expenses that would be needed to avoid congested ports would cost businesses.
The Global Consolidators Working Group asked IMO to detail how more than 150 countries will enforce this new rule, how much variation to weight violations each country will tolerate and what are possible penalties for violations by April 8.