Following a decision by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) sub-committee to accept an alternative mode of verification to the mandatory weighing of packed shipping containers, the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has pledged to continue its struggle for container weight safety.
The ITF has described it as a missed opportunity to reduce the risk of harm to transport workers and members of the public.
The proposed amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) by the ITF received its final consideration by the IMO sub-committee on dangerous goods, solid cargoes and containers this week. The sub-committee has opted for a compromise solution, which allows governments to either choose the gold standard of mandatory weighing or the lesser measure of certifying shipping containers based on an unformulated process of verifying the weight by adding together the different constituent parts of a container load at unspecified times and places along the transport route.
Explaining the flaws in IMO’s decision, ITF president and dockers’ section chair Paddy Crumlin said that the proposed amendment was the ideal opportunity to finally bring in a system, which would lessen the risk that unweighed and misdeclared containers pose to dockers, seafarers, truck drivers, the general public and the environment. However, the compromise position opens up the question of accountability in different countries.
He said that the ITF will continue its campaign to get decent universal weighing accepted as the norm, and will seek transparency and clarity from the governments that fail to take up the safer method on how they plan to make certification work.
He adds that the ITF and its affiliates feel passionately about this issue, as do the national governments and industry bodies that supported the amendment. The organisation will increase their campaigning efforts and plan further lobbying, awareness initiatives and affiliate action in locations worldwide.