Sri Lanka shippers told mis-declared cargo could disrupt supply chains

ECONOMYNEXT – The International Maritime Organisation has told Sri Lankan shippers supply chains could get disrupted if shipping lines refuse to load containers whose weight is not properly verified as required under a new rule effective in July.

The new rule on verification of cargo weight was prompted by notable casualties among merchant ships in recent years and major incidents related to mis-declared container weights, said Loukas Kontogiannis.

There were economic consequences such as insurance costs from mis-declaring the weight of containers, said Kontogiannis, technical officer, marine safety division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

"Mis-declared cargo can get left behind, there will be supply chain disruptions and insurance claims, leading to loss of revenue and earnings," he told a forum held by the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

The conference aimed at educating Sri Lanka’s transport and logistics industry on the IMO’s Cargo Weight Verification Regulations coming into effect on 1 July 2016 under which the onus is on shippers to obtain and document verified gross weights of a packed container.

The IMO rule under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) agreement makes it mandatory for container weights to be verified with no estimations permitted, Kontogiannis said.

Masters of ships have the right to refuse to load cargo whose weight is not verified, Kontogiannis said.

Problems caused by not declaring the proper weight of containers affect not only shipping lines and port terminals but land based industries and shippers in particular, he said.

"None of the casualties were exclusively caused by mis-declared container mass but mis-declared mass may have been an aggravating factor," Kontogiannis said.

"Failure of container stacks can cause excess stress on the ship structure often with catastrophic consequences." (Colombo/Feb19/2016)





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