CMA CGM, the world’s 3rd largest container shipping line by TEU and Vessel capacity has announced the implementation of Overweight Surcharge (OWS) on its Asia to North Europe trade effective September 15th, 2022 (loading date) until further notice..
This applies to all 20′ dry van containers loaded from North East Asia, South East Asia, China, Hong Kong & Macau SAR to North Europe, Scandinavia, Poland & Baltic..
The announced OWS is $150 per 20′ dry with container gross weight equal to or over 20 tons..
If I read and interpret the wording “container gross weight” correctly, it would mean that any container with a gross weight of 20 tons INCLUDING container tare weight would be subject to this Overweight Surcharge..
If we take an average 20′ container tare weight of 2.230 tons, customers can then only pack 17.770 tons in a 20′ container without incurring OWS..
As per Eurostat, manufactured goods dominate imports into Europe from ASEAN countries and China, and between 2011 and 2021 its share increased from 77% to 86% due to the increasing share of machinery and vehicles, and of other manufactured goods..
Manufactured goods and machinery are generally heavy goods and this means that majority of the 86% of cargoes will incur OWS adding to the cost of goods for customers..
This overweight, however, should NOT be confused with when a container is actually overweight by way of packing..
So when is a container considered Overweight..??
Every container should have a valid safety approval plate called CSC (Container Safety Convention) plate in order for it to be used in international trade.. This is in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention on Safe Containers of 1972..
The role of this CSC plate is to confirm that the container has been inspected and found to be in a condition suitable for transportation on board the ship.. This plate has all the details of the Owners, Technical Data, and ACEP information..
There are also other plates/certifications that may be required for the containers to be used in international trade like the Customs Plate and Timber treatment (for the floorboard) certification.. These days, such certifications are included in the CSC Plate and this is called a Combined Data Plate as shown in the below example..
Using the above plate as an example, a container that has been loaded more than the allowed weight – in this case, 32,500 kgs including the tare weight of the container, will be considered as OVERWEIGHT..
It is therefore imperative that the packing warehouse/depot check this CSC plate upon the arrival of the container and ensure that they do not exceed the Maximum Gross Weight mentioned on the plate..
Most container shipping lines have containers that have different weight capacities because not all cargoes are heavy.. Therefore if the shipper is aware that his cargo is going to be heavy – say Minerals, Steel Coils or such similar types, they can always request the shipping line to release such “heavy tested” or “high payload” containers for packing such cargoes..
The shipping lines will charge container misdeclaration penalties for containers that are wilfully overloaded as weight misdeclarations have caused several incidents of loss to ships and containers..