Knowing and Declaring the Correct Weight of Shipment

shipping container

Cargo costs are based on weight. Some might think it is a good idea to shave a pound off of the shipping weight here and there to save a few dollars. It can also be tempting to save some time by rounding the shipping weight instead of accurately computing it. However, not accurately reporting the shipping weight can lead to dire consequences for the shipment as well as the people handling the shipment.

Doesn’t Someone Check the Weight?

One of the first questions you might be asking is, why doesn’t someone check the weight of the containers before they are loaded on the ship? The answer is simple, there are just too many containers to weight each one and still ship them in a timely manner. The shipping line will typically take the word of the person who is shipping the container. Containers can be weighed by ports or by customs agencies but this is done to a sampling of containers not all.

How Shipping Containers are Loaded

Balancing the load on a moving vessel is a necessary safety step. Vehicles that are designed to carry large amounts of cargo have very specific engineering and safety instructions on how to distribute the load. This means that as the load positioning is computed, the shipping line will balanced the load by the weight of the containers as they are listed.

Cargo containers are also loaded onto a cargo ship with the heaviest ones placed on the bottom. The lighter containers are then stacked on top of them. Again, keeping the load from being top heavy adds to the stability of the cargo as well as the stability of the ship carrying the load.

The Importance of Stability on the High Seas

Shipping things over the water is no easy task. Unlike rail road tracks and highways the sea is not a flat even surface to travel on. This means stability must be inherent in the ship in order to keep it from tipping in one direction or another if the seas become unstable, say during a storm.

Incorrectly declaring the weight of the cargo can lead to an uneven distribution of the load on the ship causing the vessel to list to one side or another during a storm. In a worst case scenario, ships could tip so far to once side that they are forced to cut loose some cargo and let fall overboard, losing the loads in those containers.

Collapsed Containers

Another issue that can happen is the collapse of containers. Standard shipping containers are designed to hold a specific amount of weight. If the load is more than computed, containers that are on the bottom could become overloaded and collapse.

Using experts like Cratex group for your industrial packing services will ensure that you never incorrectly declare the weight of your load.