A unique container weighing solution developed by Dunedin-headquartered Bison Group is said to be attracting local and global interest in light of pending changes to international shipping rules.
The Bison container weighing jacks system entails four compact scale/jacks clipping into the bottom corner fittings of a stationary container, which is then lifted slightly through manual cranking. The container’s weight and load distribution is promptly advised via a synced smartphone application.
Bison managing director Greg Fahey said the solution — which takes about five minutes to deploy and can weigh to within +/-25kg accuracy — had struck a chord ahead of the July 1, 2016 introduction of the Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendment.
“As we’ve only just launched the jacks, it’s too soon to advise sales volumes [but] first orders have come from New Zealand freight forwarders, logistics companies and stevedores,” he told the Shipping Gazette™.
“We want to begin exporting the weighing jacks immediately and are working on distribution relationships now. Australia and Europe are two target markets, although recent publicity has attracted interest from quite a few other countries including India, South Africa, Brazil and the United States.”Mr Fahey said a particular advantage of the solution was the ability to accurately confirm a container’s weight and load distribution at the packing point, which delivered additional benefits above merely complying with pending mandatory weighing requirements. “Weighing the container at the packing point helps an operator optimise shipments, avoid despatching overweight containers and eliminates the cost of weighing individual cargo items or diverting laden containers to a weigh bridge.”
He said it was “alarming” to discover how many containers have been passing over land and sea with misdeclared weights. “Currently, the system relies on shippers declaring the weight of the container, but no-one is checking their declarations and it’s estimated that around a third of the 130 million containers shipped each year have inaccurate weights.
‘That is leading to accidents, equipment breakages, dangerous vessel loading and environmental hazards worldwide. Noting that it was “clear to the industry where the rules arc heading”, Mr Fahey said the challenge to shippers was in finding “practical ways to adapt to them”.
“Typically, accurate container weighing involves some combination of truck, weigh bridge, container handler or crane. This not only ties up capital-intensive plant and equipment, the packing and weighing tasks often can’t be performed at the same time and place.”
Mr Fahey said the technology firm, which was established mid last year, is also working on a new product that will enable hauliers to accurately weigh containers on a chassis without diverting to a weigh bridge.
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