Since the early 1980s, the issues surrounding overweight shipping containers has been much-debated.

Next week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is set to discuss a draft amendment developed and agreed by 15 governments and 13 industry groups that, if approved, will make the verification of the weight of every loaded container, through a certified process, mandatory.

Prior to the discussions the two sides of the supply chain have been trading blows.

First BIMCO, IAPH, ICS and WSC issued a statement that stressed that the compromise solution should be adopted. The Global Shipper Forum issued a similar call to governments to support the amended proposals on container weight verification.

But a number of freight forwarding industry and shipper groups have now slammed the container weight verification proposal as "ineffective".

A grouping of The European Shippers' Council (ESC), the European and international freight forwarders associations (FIATA and CLECAT) and the European representation of maritime terminals and stevedores (FEPORT) says that while safety of those involved in the supply chain is of paramount importance, "the proposed container weight verification will be ineffective".

They are not convinced that new laws will make containers any safer and suggest that instead, the need for weighing should be based on a proper risk analysis of the data transferred between shipping lines, shippers and Customs authorities.

The bodies also slammed the lack of any idea of what transgressors would face. The problem, they consider, could be dealt with by adding guidance within the relevant sections of the SOLAS Convention (i.e. VI/2 and VI/5.5).

We await to see the outcome of the IMO discussions next week.

Meanwhile, when the COSCO multipurpose heavy lift vessel - Yong Sheng - tied up in Rotterdam this week, she made waves as the first Chinese ship to traverse the Northern Sea Route (NSR) across the top of Russia. Despite excited comment in much of the mainstream media about this voyage, it is perhaps not the game-changer many outside of the industry are claiming, and the NSR should, perhaps, be seen as a "seasonal supplement", not a voyage to make waves.

This week's Friday Flyer is sponsored by Broekman Project Services, located in the Port of Rotterdam, which offers a total solution for handling and assembly of project cargoes - 
In the corporate world

Gruber Logistics is now sole owner of Intertransport Hohnholz GmbH, a specialist in maritime transport and project cargo to North America and the Far East.

Greencarrier Freight Services Finland has acquired forwarder Rahtihuolinta Oy.

Röhlig purchased all of the remaining shares in Procargo, its long-standing agent in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, in which it had acquired a 50 percent stake in 2011.
Capacity developments
BigRoll Shipping has contracted COSCO Dalian Shipyard to build two MC Class module carriers (pictured top right) for the transportation of ultra large and heavy modular cargoes.

OSD-IMT has secured a design contract for two 1,800 dwt IMT 965 seismic support vessels for China Oilfield Service Ltd (COSL), Beijing to support activities by larger seismic vessels.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has been awarded a USD10 million TIGER grant for the rebuilding and expansion of a general cargo dock at the Port of Duluth, Minnesota (pictured second right).

Saudia Cargo's first scheduled freighter service from the UK to Saudi Arabia, with two new flights per week from Manston, will be launched as well as one additional flight per week from Guangzhou to Brussels; an additional weekly flight from Dhaka to Brussels; and two additional flights each week from Nairobi to Amsterdam.

The official steel cutting ceremony has taken place in Shanghai for Atlantic Container Line's five G4 container / ro-ro carriers (pictured bottom right), marking the beginning of actual construction.
Notable shipments
On the ocean, Transmarine Services India Pvt Ltd shipped a 164-tonne, 12 package consignment of ethanol/ethylene gas heater machinery and relative components (pictured top right) from Thailand to Egypt for EMCO; Jumbo was awarded a pipelaying contract by Sigur Ros to oversee transportation and installation of 126 gravity anchor spreads; and, Yacht Exports moved a Grand Banks Motor Yacht 50 Eastbay SX from Singapore to Norfolk, Virginia for display at the Annapolis Boat Show 2013.

In the air, Ruslan International transported a rotor (pictured second right) from Chengdu, China to Šiauliai, Lithuania, on an AN-124, while Antwerp's Heavy Logistics handled the door-to-door delivery of a packed cold-former machine from Belgium to Mauston, Wisconsin.

Overland, Van der Vlist shipped two 11.75 m Caterpillar R2900 machines (pictured bottom right) from Antwerp, Belgium to Terneuzen in the Netherlands; Globalink Logistics transportated an out-of-gauge 50-tonne separator from Kyzyl Orda to the Aryskum oilfield in Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan; Steder Group handled the shipment of several items of urgently required marine equipment from Rotterdam to China; Aaras Shipping handled a 104.73 tonne shipment from Karachi to Besham in the Shangla District of Pakistan; and, V. Alexander International Logistics completed a complex project shipment from Germany and Italy to Belgium for use in a chemical plant.
Network news
OOG handler L.C. van Tiel Logistics has become the latest member of XLProjects in the Netherlands.

Project cargo handler Benchmark Logistics has signed up to the Pacific Power Logistics Network.

Project Cargo Network (PCN) representative Procam Logistics has established a new joint venture with Caparo Group that will be known as Caparo Procam Infrastructure Limited.
People and places
Erickson Air-Crane has appointed Eric Struik as cfo; his predecessor, Chuck Ryan, will continue to assist the company on a transition basis until the end of the year.

Blue Water Shipping (BWS) is to establish an office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to focus on developing its oil, gas and industrial projects business as well as wind and reefer logistics services.

Twenty-year industry veteran Ria de Bok (pictured right) has joined AIT Worldwide Logistics to head up its new Amsterdam office. The company has also expanded its American network into Omaha, Toronto and Houston.
All about Evie
The girl is London by name, but Coventry by nature. And she welcomes this week's news that production of London's iconic black cabs, which are made in the Midlands' city that was once home of the British car industry, is to restart after the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group rescued manufacturer, The London Taxi Company.

Evie also congratulates the Port of Milwaukee on its idea for planned infrastructure investments as it picks up a Pacesetter award, honouring the port for its increased international cargo volume in 2012. One of eight ports receiving the award this year, Milwaukee has handled a wide range of cargoes including a mining shovel, enormous beer brewing tanks and oversized electrical transformers.