DPW Southampton Straddle Carrier (3)

Terminal operator DP World has announced that it is to offer UK exporters a container weighing service at its facilities at Southampton and London Gateway.

The service will determine the verified gross mass (VGM) of the container – weighing it and its cargo under Method 1 of the amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) regulations, which are due to come into force on 1 July.

Under the new regime, vessel masters must refuse to load containers not accompanied by a VGM.

The DP World solution removes the need for containers to visit a weighbridge en route to the port. Technology company Strainstall, which yesterday unveiled a portable weighing solution for shippers, today announced that it had would supply DP World Southampton with the system for fitting on the terminal’s fleet of straddle carriers.

The container weighing system ordered by DP World Southampton

The container weighing system ordered by DP World Southampton

DP World’s UK terminals will weigh every export container as it arrives from the truck or train, by straddle carriers at Southampton and automated stacking cranes at London Gateway.

Ganesh Raj, senior vice president and managing director of DP World Europe & Russia, said, “From our contacts with UK exporters, freight forwarders and shipping lines, it is clear that the industry in general is finding it challenging to be ready to provide the VGM of containers. Without solutions provided by our container terminals, this could become a significant logistics barrier for UK exports and world trade generally.”

Mr Raj added:  “DP World’s vision is to lead the future of global trade and has therefore decided to invest in equipment in the UK which will offer an efficient solution for this new mandatory regulation.”

Nick Loader, chief executive officer at DP World Southampton, said; “We assessed a number of different options to be able to offer a container weighing service to our customers and selected Strainstall’s system because it doesn’t require any changes to our port operating procedures and is quick to install.

“The trials demonstrated an accuracy above our expectations, and the system will be fully integrated into our TOS [terminal operating system] to ensure we are able to offer a full VGM service by 1st July,” he said.

Strainstall managing director Simon Everett added: “Port operators all over the world are anxious to implement solutions before the regulations come into force, andthe industry is running out of time to get solutions implemented.”

The UK’s largest container port of Felixstowe has also announced plans to offer a container weighing service, although it is understood to be planning a holding area close to the gates where weighing will take place.

Look out for The Loadstar’s forthcoming Podcast on preparations for the new VGM regulations – we talked to DP World Southampton’s head of commercial, Aart Hille Ris Lambers, about the new regimes being put in place at Southampton and London, as well as BIFA’s policy and compliance manager, Robert Windsor, and the TT Club’s Peregrine Storrs-Fox.

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