New SOLAS requirements came into effect globally on July 1 this year making shippers responsible for verifying the total gross weight of any container they load.
The new weight verification rules are designed to prevent major incidents and accidents caused by overweight containers.
Mobicon Systems, based in Queensland, designs and manufactures Mini Straddle Carriers – a quick and reliable container handling solution.
The carriers are a safer, more cost effective solution than forklifts or side loaders and provide superior maneuverability.
Its latest TF2 model Mobicon Mini Straddle Carrier can now be fitted with VGM container weighing equipment, providing a cost effective solution to the new SOLAS weight requirements.
"The new SOLAS weighing requirements have the potential to add significant costs to companies who rely on Exporting their goods in containers if they have to rely on ports, or truck/transport weigh bridges to meet the new weight regulations,” said Tom Schults, Managing Director of Mobicon Mini Straddle Carriers.
Mr Schults said Mobicon’s TF2 model has the option of being fitted with a SOLAS approved weighing system to meet strict Australian standards.
“Being able to fit our machines with this type of technology means using a Mobicon to weigh the containers will not only be a much cheaper option for our clients, but also a far more efficient one," he said.
Under the new SOLAS requirements containers must have their weight measured and verified before being presented at a port.
This can be done by weighing the whole container after the goods are packed, or by weighing the goods and adding the amount to the Tare Weight of the container.
"In the container handling industry time is money, and bringing trucks over weighbridges is expensive, as time is lost to divert a truck over a weighbridge,” Mr Schults said.
“Weighbridges are also limiting as they can only weigh a truck/trailer with one container on it, as each container has to be weighed separately. Fitting weighing equipment on a Straddle Carrier makes a lot more sense from an efficiency and cost saving perspective."
Mr Schults said other countries including the Netherlands, China and Argentina have set their weight tolerance at 5 percent.
‘Overly stringent approach’
It is generally accepted that between 2%-5% accuracy is sufficient to guarantee safety and prevent ships from being over loaded – the main purpose for the SOLAS changes.
He expressed concern that Australia has taken an “overly stringent approach” to the introduction of the new SOLAS container weighing regulations.
“It is our understanding that the new SOLAS regulations state the weighing requirement now must be done in accordance with 'trade weighing' accuracy which we understand requires the weight to have a variation of less than 0.25%.”
High price of compliance
Such onerous requirements mean more expensive equipment and time consuming procedures are needed to comply with the new rules.
This makes compliance for Australian exporters more costly than in other countries.
“Although we support the new SOLAS requirements, we believe weighing equipment does not need the accuracy of ‘trade weighing’,” Mr Schults said.
He urged officials to review trade weighing requirements and set their policy more in line with international standards where an accuracy of between 2-5% is sufficient.
For more information: www.mobiconsystems.com