April 30 - Anecdotal evidence suggests that some freight forwarders handling project cargo and moving containerised heavy lift cargo are, on occasion, guilty of not making accurate weight declarations when booking cargo.

Yet carriers still accept declared weights and rarely if ever seek to have them verified.

As a result, road hauliers continue to be prosecuted for running overweight, stevedores' and seafarers' lives are put at risk and on-deck container stacks collapse. It is an issue that concerns many companies and organisations, not only those directly involved, such as shipowners, carriers and terminal operators but also seafarer unions, health and safety managers, marine surveyors, insurance underwriters and lawyers.

Container handling equipment manufacturers have been addressing this issue and it would appear that there are now practical and affordable solutions available.

That is the theme of a conference to be held at the Hilton Canary Wharf Hotel, London, on 29 June 2010.

UK-based maritime PR company Dunelm Public Relations is organising a one-day conference in London entitled 'Weighing containers: is it really that difficult?'

Dunelm's managing director David Cheslin says that while initial interest is strong, he is having difficulty in attracting a key speaker. He says: "Although we are only now starting to market this event, delegates representing deepsea and shortsea carriers, P&I clubs, classification societies and terminal operators have already registered.

"Sadly though, even at this relatively late stage, I am unable to find a speaker willing to explain why the carriers are seemingly not taking active steps to enforce their own 'best practice' guidelines.

"Similarly, no shipper or shipper organisation has come forward with an offer to speak on this subject despite the fact that the recent UN Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, the so-called Rotterdam Rules, provides for a strict and unlimited liability of the shipper for any inaccurate information given for the issuance of transport documents including information on the weight of the goods."

To view the conference programme, please see: