New Shipping Container Rule Vexes Exporters

Shippers will struggle to comply with a new requirement to weigh containers before they’re loaded on ships

The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 7, 2015—Retailers, manufacturers and farmers world-wide are protesting a new marine shipping safety rule they say will raise transport costs and cause delays at ports worldwide.

The rule, which kicks in next July in 171 countries, requires exporters to certify the weight of containers before they’re loaded onto ships. Carriers say accurate weights are needed because overloaded containers frequently damage cargo and even cause ships to capsize.

But shippers in many countries say they are ill-equipped to weigh so many containers. Some say they learned about the rule only recently and are still in the dark about key details, including how it will be enforced. In a survey of shippers, carriers and others involved in global trade conducted by container booker Inttra Inc., 57 percent of respondents were only vaguely familiar or not aware of the rule, and nearly 60 percent did not believe shippers would be ready by July.

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