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Weighing In on the “Weigh-In”

Container lines, U.S. shippers and logistics providers are coming together to figure out the best way to prepare for the July 1, 2016 start of new global regulations requiring the weighing of containers before they are allowed to be loaded onto a ship.

The Agriculture Transportation Coalition and the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement have created a working committee to create best practices and respond to concerns regarding the new amendments of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. The working committee consists of executives from 25 shippers and trucking companies who are AgTc members, eight container lines and three software providers.

“The goal is to keep cargo moving through our U.S. ports, without causing further delays or congestion,” AgTC Executive Director Peter Friedmann said in a statement. “We have much to do in a very tight time frame.”

A subcommittee focusing on how the refrigerated shipping industry will approach the International Maritime Organization’s rules will be chaired by Perry Bourne, director of international transportation and rail operations at Tyson Fresh Meats.

Although the two acceptable methods of container weighing are known, there are plenty of details not clear, such as how electronic data will be handled. Even more worrying is the fact there is no standard procedure for carriers to implement the new rules, said Donna Lemm, vice president global sales at Mallory Alexander International Logistics and chair of the working committee.

“Each carrier will implement their own protocol independently of one another, but the committee provides an exceptional forum to hear from U.S. shippers before the rule goes into effect,” said Brian Conrad, executive administrator of the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement, a discussion forum representing 15 of the largest shipping lines that carry U.S. containerized imports from Asia. The group has no enforcement powers and its guidelines are voluntary.

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