Importance of declaring the right cargo weight

Importance of declaring the right cargo weight

Mis-declaration of container weights has been an issue that has been going on for a long time and has plagued many a shipping line and port.. It all boils down to people taking a “personal” responsibility to be honest and correct in the declaration of weights..

Maybe this article will enlighten people as to the IMPORTANCE being accurate in the declaration of the weights..

The weight of the container affects many factors.. Primary among these factors is the lives of innocent crew or dock workers.. On board the ship, the containers are generally stowed with the heavy containers at the bottom either on deck or under deck of the ship, and the lighter containers on top of these containers.. This is done in order to maintain the stability of the ship and achieve an even spread on board.. The stability of the ship is a VERY vital factor which is taken into consideration while planning the loading of the ship..

For example, a client has some containers that weigh about 24 tons each but in order to save costs on overweight etc if he declared the contrs as 18 tons each (happens a lot) the shipping line will take the word of the client and advise the ship that these contrs are 18 tons each..

When the ships planner does the planning, following the weight categories, he is going to place the 18 ton containers on top of 20 ton contrs.. Now if these 20 ton contrs are actually the right weight, we now have a 24 ton contr (misdeclared as 18 tons) sitting on top of a 20 ton contr.. Imagine MANY such misdeclarations such as this, the chief officer of the ship has a problem now to try and adjust the stability because according to his calculations the ship should be stable when the cargo is planned to be loaded a certain way, but in reality because of the misdeclared weights, he is not able to get the stability right..

On MANY occassions you might have heard the shipping line give reasons such as “due to stability constraints we had to short ship your cargo”.. The weight misdeclarations are one of the MAJOR reasons for such instances as the planning is done in accordance with the weights provided by the shippers, but it doesn’t always work in that direction..

Even though the lines are taking many precautions and deterrents such as Over Weight Surcharge, Misdeclaration penalties etc, these cases still continue.. As mentioned above, this can seriously affect the lives of the innocent crew on board the ship if anything should happen to them due to such negligence..

Many an incident has occured where the  bottom of the container has fallen off during the lifting of the same due to the cargo weigh in the container exceeding the declared weight..


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6 thoughts on “Importance of declaring the right cargo weight”

  1. The answer is very simple. Weight the containers as they are offloaded. The agricultural industry weigh their product when offloading, so building a scale to accomodate that is not a problem. The question is if the shippers WANT to get the right weights, then they will make a plan.

  2. Incorrect cargo weight also leads to damages to the hatch cover. The vessel’s hatch cover can only accommodate a limited tonnage per stack/Row, this is referred to has “stacking weight or pile weight” also the lashing gear used on the vessel is also restricted in terms of the lashing force, all of which is calculated using the container weight. Hence misdeclaration of container weight could also result in containers breaking of the lashing/falling of the vessel when the vessel rolls due to the excessive forces.



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