May 25 - The Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organisation will address the issue of weight misdeclaration of containerised cargo shipments and undertake other measures to improve the safety of container stowage and ship operations.

The move was prompted by a proposal last week from maritime representatives of the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.

Late last year the World Shipping Council (WSC) and International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) proposed the mandatory weighing of all containers at port of departure before they are stowed aboard a vessel for export in order to address the perennial problem of overweight containers.

"Verification of actual container weight before vessel loading and the availability of the actual container weights for proper and safe stowage planning will mark a long overdue and important improvement in industry safety," the WSC said. "The problem will not be solved until there is a legal requirement to verify container weights before containers are loaded onto ships. In those countries that require loaded containers to be weighed before vessel stowage for export, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that operations can proceed very efficiently without any disruption to commerce."