Weighing Cargo at the source

June 23, 2013 — Leave a comment

IMG_39671-210x140Worldcargo news.com reports that a recent truck weighing deal in the UK provides food for thought in the run-up to IMO DSC/18 in September 2013.

Central Weighing, part of Avery Weigh-Tronix, has supplied a cost-effective weighing solution to help Balfour Beatty avoid overloading on its fleet of 3000 light commercial vehicles and 1000 heavy commercial vehicles, which are located at numerous and very often temporary sites across the UK.

Balfour Beatty operates a large and diverse fleet of commercial vehicles in the UK ranging from small vans to 44t artics. The plant, tools, equipment and materials carried vary widely depending on the project or contract being serviced.

“With such a wide variety of loads being transported, it is essential that the vehicles can be weighed accurately and efficiently, to ensure safety and comply with road transport legislation,” stated Central Weighing. “Installing a weighbridge at each location was not financially feasible, so Central Weighing’s solution was implemented to supply 10 portable dynamic weighbridges.”

As discussed on numerous occasions in WorldCargo News, where the shipping line requires container weights to be verified by physical weighing of the container, the ideal location from an overall supply chain perspective is the shipper’s or export packer’s container stuffing point. This provides:

  • the earliest possible notice of discrepancy with the declared weight, and hence the most time for the ship planner to adjust the loading plan.
  • confirmation of legality for road shipment in terms of gross truck mass and axle loads. Inland transportation is outwith IMO’s remit, but this point is clearly very important in terms of road safety. It is not acceptable for shipping lines employing hauliers in a carrier haulage move to ignore it and focus exclusively on the integrity of their loading plans.

Of course, most shippers do not have container lifting equipment, but container chassis could easily be fitted with load cells measuring the weight and distribution as the container is stuffed at the loading dock, or the whole rig could be driven onto portable weighbridges/mats shortly after the container is loaded. If Balfour Beatty can do it, why can’t shipping lines or their contracted road hauliers?

If the truck is shown to be overloaded in terms of gross mass and/or individual axle loads, the container will have to be stripped and restuffed, leading to dispatch delays. Since gate “slot” times and reception “cut off” times are so tight, something has got to give. Don’t expect a truck with a three-hour window between departure from, say, Daventry and arrival in Felixstowe to make it in one hour!

Both container weighing and packing are being discussed in special workshops at next week’s TOC CSC Europe conference in Rotterdam, and these points need to be aired.

Sounds like the kind of discussion and development to be followed by Transport (including Port) and Customs authorities alike. Perhaps the MOL COMFORT tragedy will lend some importance (interest) to this debate.

Source: World Cargo News

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