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New Shipping Container Rule Riles Exporters

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Shippers say they will struggle to comply with a new requirement to weigh containers before they’re loaded on ships, a step carriers say will reduce accidents

By Loretta Chao
Updated Dec. 4, 2015 11:20 a.m. ET

Retailers, manufacturers and farmers world-wide are protesting a new marine shipping safety rule they say will raise transport costs and cause delays at ports worldwide.

The rule, which kicks in next July in 171 countries, requires exporters to certify the weight of containers before they’re loaded onto ships. Carriers say accurate weights are needed because overloaded containers frequently damage cargo and even cause ships to capsize.

But shippers in many countries say they are ill-equipped to weigh so many containers. Some say they learned about the rule only recently and are still in the dark about key details, including how it will be enforced. In a survey of shippers, carriers, and others involved in global trade conducted by container booker Inttra Inc., 57% of respondents were only vaguely familiar or not aware of the rule, and nearly 60% did not believe shippers would be ready by July.

“The industry has been slow in making shippers aware,” said Juerg Bandle, senior vice president of sea freight for Swiss logistics company Kuehne + Nagel International AG. “Now the industry is under time pressure to implement. It will be very challenging.” MORE>

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