WEIGHING laden containers should be a requirement at terminals say container shipping lines and labour organisations in Denmark, Holland and the US, who want to make it a legal requirement enforced under UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) safety rules.
The effort is supported by the International Chamber of Shipping, which represents 80 per cent of all shipping tonnage afloat; the World Shipping Council, which represents container carriers and the International Transport Workers' Federation, the official representative of transport workers at the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation.
But the European Shippers Council (ESC) disagrees, saying the proposal to have all containers weighed before loading is a "false remedy for an ill-defined disease."
While mis-declaration of container weights has been blamed for shipboard accidents and in ports and on highways, the ESC does not believe that this is the major cause.
"We admit that mis-declaration of weights needs our attention, but oppose the idea that it's the biggest threat to the safety of workers in the supply chain. If the sector is truly looking for a safer supply chain, all parties should take their responsibility," said an ESC statement.
Container weigh-ins is one of the current demands of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) despite resistance from waterfront management of US east and Gulf coast ports fearful of congestion and back-ups creating higher costs. Contract talks between management and the longshore union have recently started.