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5 Things To Consider When Buying Container Weighing Equipment

Bison Group

1 Sep 5 Minutes


The spotlight went on container weighing in 2016 with the introduction of SOLAS VGM regulations. In addition to the VGM declaration, cargo owners in Europe must now provide hauliers with a “Statement of Weight” before their container is dispatched. This is entirely consistent with industry best practices, as outlined in the CTU Code, which advises that containers be weighed before they enter the logistics chain.

These new regulations are leading more organisations to realise the benefits of controlling the container weighing operation themselves. Knowing the weight before the container leaves the site is not only safer, but the payload can be optimised, and the weight information can be communicated earlier to the logistics network. Bison has put together the following five points to help organisations considering investing in equipment to weigh their shipping containers on site before dispatch.

Container Volumes

The type of equipment best suited for weighing your containers will depend on the number of containers being dispatched per week. In high volume environments, having weighing capability integrated with handling equipment makes the best sense, or you can install a weighbridge and weigh the truck on-site.

For organisations handling between 5 and 40 containers per week, a stand-alone, portable solution may be considered. This option provides flexibility and avoids relying on or diverting expensive handling equipment.

Time Taken To Weigh A Container

The time taken needs to be considered; not just to weigh a container, but for the whole process. The ideal equipment is quick to deploy and efficient to use. Portable weighing equipment should be easy to move around a site as a self-contained unit. As a benchmark, it takes one person 4 to 5 minutes to weigh a container with the Bison Container Scales - and less if several people work in parallel.

Reliability Of Container Handling Equipment

Containers are heavy and handling is rough - think of the "thump" that containers make when they are placed on the ground. Weighing equipment does not like shock loading and will quickly go out of calibration if it is not suitably designed for this environment. When choosing weighing equipment to invest in, you should look for examples of where the equipment is already in use weighing containers.

For portable equipment like Bison Container Scales, you need to consider the site where containers are to be weighed. Sites are rarely flat and level, and the equipment must be able to tolerate this without compromising accuracy, or requiring fiddly adjustment.

Cargo & Operator Safety

Let’s not forget about the health and safety of your staff. Reducing risks of injuries is important. Our equipment handles containers on the ground and we provide lots of training to assist with adding Bison to your internal processes. Weighing containers on the chassis or on the ground also minimizes damage to cargo inside the container.

Costs Of Loading Blind

The economics of investing in equipment for weighing containers on-site varies significantly between regions, industries and operations. In some situations the financial consequences of dispatching an overweight container can be severe; e.g. if the container is impounded or has to be returned and re-packed. The real costs of having a container weighed off-site can add up when the charges for diversion to a weighbridge, waiting times, and the weighing fee are considered.

For an organisation dispatching as few as three containers per week, the investment in weighing equipment can often be recovered in a year or less by avoiding these incurred external expenses. The overall cost of shipping can also be reduced by optimising the payload. Organisations should also consider the intangible benefits of weighing before dispatch, such as sharper records, improved safety and reduced corporate liability from following industry best practices.

Weighing Standard

We trust that this information proves helpful for deciding on the best container weighing equipment for your organisation's needs. Please do not hesitate to contact the Bison team or read more about our Bison Container Scales