TT Club backs mandatory verification of container weights


Following frustrating delays at an IMO session last week, the TT Club has urged all parties to redouble their efforts to formulate an acceptable global regulation on container weight verification

The Club said it “both recognises and supports the ground-swell of opinion in favour of a mandatory verification process and recommends all those involved in container operations to prepare for such regulatory change”.

TT Club’s Risk Management Director, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, added: “The Club is in a unique position to speak on this issue, insuring not only something in excess of 80% of all maritime containers but also with an insurable interest in ports handling around 50% of the world’s containerised freight.  

“While the immediate debate is only part of an overall ‘cargo integrity’ matrix that demands our attention, the Club has noted numerous accidents both at sea and on land, where weight mis-declaration is a material root cause.”

The outcome of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 17th Session of the Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers Sub-committee (DSC/17) in London last week was not conclusive in terms of agreeing definitive changes in international law relating to the verification of container weights.  

However, the TT Club said valuable progress had been made, leading to a recommendation to amend SOLAS (the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) to require that freight containers should not be loaded on board a ship without a verified weight.
The detail of how this is to be achieved will now be considered by a correspondence group of IMO members, which is tasked with confirming the necessary amendments to SOLAS along with comprehensive guidelines, to be submitted to the next DSC meeting in September next year.