IMO decision good news for maritime safety says GSF

9/20/2013 12:13:54 PM

"It's a good day for maritime safety," declared the Global Shippers' Forum (GSF) in response to the decision announced today by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to support compromise proposals for the verification of container weights. 

In making the "right decision" today, the IMO has addressed the recognised and documented safety problem of misdeclared container cargo weights, which was considered at this week's meeting of the IMO Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers.

The GSF has worked with the IMO constructively in order to provide the required level of flexibility which would enable shippers to comply.

The GSF has said that it believes the compromise proposal, which includes two methods for verification, is the "best possible outcome" for shippers and the maritime industry, as it provides a flexible and workable solution which can be adopted by industry without significant cost or delays in the supply chain.

In addition, the GSF has stated that in particular it is pleased that the IMO Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers accepted the compromise proposals by shippers and a number of governments to provide for a second method of verification, which will allow shippers to use a calculated option whereby the shipper can weigh all packages and cargo items including pallets, dunnage and the tare of the container.

GSF Secretary General, Chris Welsh said:

"This is a good day for maritime safety, and the GSF believes that the outcome is a sensible compromise, and we are pleased that the IMO listened carefully to shippers’ arguments regarding appropriate methods for verification.

"GSF has worked constructively with the IMO and maritime stakeholders throughout this process to find a workable solution for all, and will now continue to work with carriers and other stakeholders in the maritime supply chain to implement the weight verification requirements.  GSF maintains that the majority of shippers act responsibly and comply with their responsibilities to make accurate cargo declarations."


Notes for editors

To request an interview with Chris Welsh or for more information please contact the FTA press office by calling:  01892 552255/07818 450425 or email:

The Global Shippers' Forum (GSF) is the global voice for shippers, created in 2006 as the successor to the Tripartite Shippers' Group, first organised in 1994.  Like the Tripartite Shippers' Group, the GSF represents the interests of shippers from Asia, Australasia, Europe, North and South America and Africa.  The GSF is focused on the impact of commercial developments in the international freight transportation industry and the policy decisions of governments and international organisations that affect shippers and receivers of freight.  The GSF was formally incorporated and registered as a non-governmental organisation in the United Kingdom in June 2011.

Contact: GSF Secretary General, Chris Welsh:

tel: +44 (0)1892 552384

mob: +44 (0)7818 450556


IMO Timetable for Implementation:

If the IMO Subcommittee approves the proposed SOLAS amendment and guidelines at its next meeting in mid-September (DSC 18), they must then be "approved" at the next IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting (MSC 93 in May 2014), and then officially "adopted" by a subsequent MSC.  The formal adoption cannot take place earlier than 12 months after the MSC meeting where the proposals were agreed, i.e., MSC 95 in May 2015.  Upon adoption, there is typically a 24 months "waiting period" before the SOLAS amendments take effect, which would be May 2016.  This very lengthy process would ensure more than ample time for shippers and the industry to easily adapt to the new rules.

The proposed amendments strengthen these responsibilities for shippers to verify the weight by weighing the packed container (method one), or weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was to be completed (method two).

Jackie Langridge