Article by Mike Josypenko, IOE&IT Senior Director of Special Projects
A new piece of EU legislation is set to pass into law which will oblige shippers sending full load shipments in containers or swapbody trailers to make a declaration to the haulier of the loaded weight of the unit. This move mirrors the “Verified Gross Mass” declarations which were introduced internationally last year for container shipments by seafreight, which oblige shippers to declare a verified weight of the loaded unit, either by weighing the loaded unit, or by weighing individual items of cargo (including packing materials and dunnage), and calculating the fully loaded weight.
Containers and swapbody trailers (trailer type bodies without running gear, which can be loaded onto container trailers or trains) are widely used for intermodal transportation within the European Union and beyond. This new legislation complements the existing legislation for sea transportation, and also places an obligation on operators and hauliers to make available to government agencies the loaded weight of vehicles operating on roads. It is unclear at this stage whether similar legislation will be introduced to cover standard road trailer operations.
Article 10f of DIRECTIVE (EU) 2015/719 states that “Member States shall lay down rules that require:
(a) the shipper to give to the haulier to whom it entrusts the transport of a container or swap body a statement indicating the weight of the container or swap body transported; and
(b) the haulier to provide access to all relevant documentation provided by the shipper”.
While this directive does not specifically require the use of formal Verified Gross Mass declarations, it is expected that UK legislation may enforce this, and operators may insist on a formal declaration, rather than relying on information provided on export invoices or other documentation which may not take into account all materials used to protect and secure loads.
Shippers using intermodal transport services which feature containers or swapbody trailers may wish to contact their operators for clarification.
The text of EU Directive 2015/719 can be viewed at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32015L0719