Af Felix Bekkersgaard Stark mail
In 2013, Mol Comfort, a 300-metre-long container ship, broke in two about 400 kilometres off the coast of Yemen. The probable cause of the accident was that the weight of the containers on board had been stated incorrectly and that the ship was loaded unevenly.
The Mol Comfort accident is not a lone example. In the past ten years, at least three cargo ships have broken while many more have keeled over and many have sailed with a list or have had to be reloaded as a result of lopsided weight distribution.
“The distribution of cargo on a ship is planned in advance based on the weight indicated by the consignor. Unfortunately, some consignors provide incorrect weights or cheat. This is why new, global rules are being introduced on 1 July. These rules mean that all businesses have to document the weight of their cargo containers,” says Consultant Jakob Svane from DI Transport.
The new rules will apply to all Danish businesses using export containers that are loaded onto ships. The rules can be met in two ways. Either by weighing each packed container before it is loaded – or documenting the weight of all goods in the container.
“The latter solution requires that you have a certified quality management system in place, but if you do, the task should be reasonable easy,” says Jakob Svane.
He points out that the new rules may also help to improve port safety.
“If you stack a heavy container on top of five light containers, you risk that they fall over. The new rules will also help to prevent that kind of accident,” says Jakob Svane.
He encourages Danish exporters to contact shipping agents and shipping companies to ensure that they know how and when the verified weights need to be documented.