Fitch Ratings has stated that the implementation of new global weight regulations by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to verify the weight of the cargo containers could result in uncertainty and increased congestion at US ports.
US ports are already facing congestion due to chassis management issues, higher cargo loads from larger vessels and inadequate inland or intermodal links.
The US statistical rating organisation said that the ports have not subscribed to the facilities for weighing containers nor do they possess the systems for verification of container weights.
The report comes just month ahead of an amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which will come into force in July this year.
The new guideline will require all the cargo containers to document their verified gross mass (VGM) before being boarded on to the ship.
The shipper, who looks over the contract of carriage, will be assigned with the responsibility of establishing the verified weight, however, the designation of the portions of logistics to be verified by the shipper, as well as the cost incurred by the whole procedure, is yet to be determined.
The mode of documentation has not been defined as the forwarders and terminals such as Maher terminal at Port of New York / New Jersey prefer the usage of electronic data interchange systems that facilitates communication of data in a bulk daily.
Some smaller ports will offer weighing services at their facilities, which has been dubbed as impractical by the terminal operators in case of weighing higher volume cargoes.
The Fitch-rated US ports are anticipated to be aligned to the VGM mandate by the smaller ports offering weighing option to delinquent containers.
An electronic industry standard will be employed for forwarders and larger carriers facilitating an efficient data management in terminals.