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A weighty matter 18 international

While the IMO failed to achieve global consensus on legislation to improve the accuracy of container weight at

its September session, freight


insurer, TT Club is advising all supply chain professionals involved in container operations to plan for such regulatory change. Peregrine Storrs-Fox, the Club’s risk management director, reports. 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 in September was not conclusive in terms of agreeing changes in international law relating to the verification of container weights. However, TT Club believes that valuable progress was made leading to the 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, tasked with confirming the necessary amendments to SOLAS along with comprehensive guidelines, to be submitted to the next DSC meeting in September 2013. The guidelines will resolve how the revised regulations can be enforced in every containerised situation, including the least sophisticated operations.

Further delay to this modest legal

change is frustrating, particularly since substantial consensus concerning acceptable ways to ensure that weight declarations are accurate was achieved during the session. IMO did, additionally, recognise that this is but one of the safety issues raised in the ‘Lashing@ Sea’ report by the Netherlands MARIN research institute, together with

the existing IMO/ILO/UN

ECE initiative to produce a Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs). However, the move towards tighter regulation seems clear, so the TT Club is urging shippers, forwarders, freight consolidators and terminals to start planning for the reality of the requirement of accurate weight information, and work towards safer container operation. Weight misdeclaration has been

identified in a number of high-profile cases, such as the MSC Napoli, Riverdance and Husky Racer, and the TT Club has repeatedly noted numerous lesser accidents (both at sea and on land) where it has been a material root cause. So why this should be a problem for a 50 year old industry? Clearly, the logical place to ensure

that the gross mass of a consignment packed in a container is correctly declared is before its transport starts, at the point when packing is complete. Apart from the fact that this rarely happens, the reality of trade is that the consignment weight

is generally estimated at the time of booking the container. That detail enters the line’s system, available for use in ship stowage planning.

“The effort to attain

accurate container weights through industry guidance has had negligible success.”

The weight of the cargo actually

loaded in the container should be correctly declared in the carriage contract, but may well not be checked against the estimate given at the time of booking and therefore not corrected for the ship’s stow plan. Nor will the contract of carriage weight generally take account of the tare weight of the container, or dunnage and other packing materials. So, even if this does satisfy the need for the gross declared mass to be the same as that presented, it may not be sufficiently in advance of loading onto the ship and the systems are not habitually amended with the correct information. The regime covering any inland

transport prior to loading on board a ship will inevitably be governed by domestic legislation – indeed, in some parts of the world, there could be a series of differing regulations applicable before the container even reaches port. There is, however, no simple international legal mechanism by which to achieve consistent regulation on land. Conversely, SOLAS, developed under the auspices of the IMO, does

Issue 6 2012

have effective international reach – and there can be no doubt that the obligations already imposed on shippers are material to the port/ ship interface. Thus, while other UN bodies (such as ILO or UNECE) could legislate on this issue, the IMO is best placed and there is precedent within SOLAS by which revisions automatically come into force aſter a certain period in all signatory jurisdictions

without further

implementing instruments. As the vast majority of containers

packed and sealed inland will arrive at their foreign destination without being opened in transit, the TT Club argues that validation of the correct declaration of gross mass for maritime transport will equate to correct declaration for every other mode. Therefore, SOLAS can be both legally and practically effective – but has hitherto been relatively toothless, probably because enforcement against shippers is at best difficult. The effort to attain accurate

container weights through industry guidance has had negligible success. Many shippers and forwarders already have taken steps to comply with the existing SOLAS regulations (Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2) to provide “appropriate information on the cargo sufficiently in advance of loading to enable … proper loading” of the ship. However, where this is not the case, the combination of a lack of enforcement attention and anecdotal evidence of inconsistent application of standards by shipping lines has severely hampered universally accurate declaration - so a level playing field is only achievable through international regulation.

ACL delivers a piece of railway history to Liverpool

Two historic British steam locomotives were landed at the Port of Liverpool on 3 October as part of a repatriation that will see them take part in celebrations of the world steam speed set by an identical locomotive, Mallard 75 years ago. The two A4 Pacific locomotives,

Dwight D Eisenhower and Dominion of Canada, were transported from Halifax, Canada by Atlantic Container Line (ACL) Atlantic Conveyor, a 51,648dwt ro- ro/container carrier. The landing of the two 94-tonne locomotives and their accompanying coal tenders took place during an 11- hour mooring of the ship, which later sailed for Antwerp as part of its scheduled service. Stephen Carr, head of business

development Mersey ports, joined Ian Rigby, managing director of ACL, and Andrew Goodman, managing director of Sutton Coldfield-based Moveright



Russian railways (RZD), is to buy a three-quarter stake in Gefco, the logistics arm of French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA said that the proposed €800m deal would help secure the company’s future.

Retired freight forwarder Christopher Tappin has agreed a plea bargain deal with US prosecutors that he hopes will guarantee his return to the UK. Mr Tappin, 65, from Orpington, Kent, and owner of Brooklands International, fought extradition to a Texas jail for two years over charges of conspiring to sell batteries for Iranian missiles in what transpired to be a US Customs ‘sting’ operation. Mr Tappin has now reached a deal with prosecutors who must ratify the terms of the agreement and formally sentence him. While he faces up to 35 years in jail, his sentence would probably be significantly reduced under a plea deal. The terms of the deal have not been released.

Ceva Logistics chief executive officer John Pattullo is to retire. He will be replaced by current chairman of the board, Marvin Schlanger. Pattullo, who will continue to serve on CEVA’s board of directors for five years, oversaw the integration of TNT Logistics and EGL into Ceva Logistics, under the ownership of global alternative asset manager, Apollo Global Management.

Nippon Express has acquired the entire shareholding of APC Asia Pacific Cargo. Hong Kong- based APC has customers in the apparel, cosmetics and other and specialises in Asia-Europe transport.

Japan’s NYK group has signed a joint venture agreement with Russian logistics company, the Rolf group. The latter company is Russia’s largest automotive logistics company.

Feltham-based forwarder Navistar Global Logistics Limited has gone into administration and has appointed insolvency practitioner SFP to handle its affairs. The company, which also had sites in West Bromwich, Manchester and Newcastle, had debts of almost £400,000.

Geodis Calberson is offering a Eurotop and Eurofirst 72-hour door-to-door service from the UK to Spain and Portugal as an alternative to airfreight. Its new partner, Buytrago provides overnight express delivery to the whole of Iberia with on-line booking and tracking. Urgent goods for the city of Madrid and surrounding areas can be delivered in 48 hours door to door on request. The daily direct service to Spain and Portugal follows the launch of a similar connection between UK and Italy some months ago. Geodis Calberson has also opened three new sites at West Thurrock, East London; Wythenshawe, Manchester and Hedge End, Southampton, as part of a five-year expansion plan.

Manchester-headquartered forwarder FFG International has opened a new London area depot at Northfleet, Kent. The facility offers full warehousing and distribution operations included a bonded warehouse and acts as the key hub for inbound products from Europe and the Far East via nearby Thamesport, as well as for part load operations from Spain, Italy, France and Germany. FFG also aims to become the UK’s leading part load service provider from Spain and Italy for the tile, stone, bathroom and kitchenware industries and is increasing its part load frequency from Alicante, Valencia and Castellon to four per week in collaboration with Ondago Logistica.

International, the forwarder in overall charge of moving the locomotives from their previous display positions in the US and Canada to oversee the landing of the railway engines. Carr said: “We move

considerable volumes of project cargo through Liverpool. It is very diverse, from finished automobiles to helicopters. There are very few items we cannot handle.”

He added that the port also

handled the latest in locomotive technology, with the recently delivery of

two state-of-the-art

Class 70 diesels for Freightliner from Canada – though these operate at a rather more sedate 75mph compared with the 126mph that Mallard touched briefly back in 1938. Back on British soil, the locomotives were moved on

the 240 km journey across the Pennines

to Shildon, County

Durham by low-loader as they cannot be moved on Britain’s rail network. The first of the pair, Dwight D Eisenhower, was moved on the day of arrival while the second travelled three days later. The locos are due to take part

in celebrations involving all five of the A4s to celebrate Mallard’s record-breaking feat.

Dachser has extended its UK European direct pallet and part-load service to include a daily service to Ireland from its northern hub in Rochdale, near Manchester – in addition to its existing Irish services from Northampton and Dartford. The service operates in cooperation with Johnston Logistics, a long-standing Dachser partner in the Republic and Northern Ireland, which provides total coverage via its headquarters in Dublin and three regional facilities.

DB Schenker Logistics has expanded its UK/Israel service to include a four times weekly airfreight consolidation as well as a dedicated weekly ocean freight groupage. The company’s partner there is Orian whose team of 570 employees is an integral part of the DB Schenker Logistics network and is considered the largest company in the field in terms of the scope of its activity. It specialises in all freight forwarding and logistics services in Israel and has an in-depth knowledge of documentation and customs regulations in Israel.

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