Improved Safety and Compliance at Cook Islands' Ports with Bison Container Scales

Improved Safety and Compliance at Cook Islands' Ports with Bison Container Scales

BISON Group Limited (Cook Islands) - The Cook Islands Ports Authority is responsible for the Ports of Avatiu on Rarotonga and Arutanga on Aitutaki. The Authority provides marshalling services for the movement of containerised, break-bulk and homogeneous cargoes through the ports. They process two major container ships per month, with current cargo in excess of 150,000 tonnes per annum.


The Cook Islands Ports Authority faced a critical problem; some importers and exporters were pushing overweight and unbalanced containers through the ports. Some containers were more than 4,000 kg over their declared weights. Some had over 70% of the load sitting in half of the container, posing serious risks to the people, vessels and equipment moving the container. With forklifts screaming, spreaders occasionally getting twisted and hydraulic breakages adding serious cost to the port operation, it was obvious that some containers were overweight and not safely balanced. The big challenge for the Authority was - how to prove this? 


During a trip to New Zealand, Andre Turiavakai (Assets and Operations Manager) spotted BISON C-Jacks in action on the National TV One news channel. He immediately knew that this was the solution they were looking for. Andre liked the idea of a certified container weighing system that would give a highly accurate gross weight and confirm the container's load distribution. The system had the added advantage of being portable, easy-to-use and, unlike weighbridges, it could be shipped back to New Zealand for re-certification from time-to-time.


As soon as the local shipping industry got wind of the new BISON container scales at the port, it was a huge deterrent. When overweight or imbalanced containers were identified, the Authority sent out warning letters to the offenders, and everyone soon got into line declaring accurate container weights and taking more care to load containers evenly.

With the Cook Islands having a small port, the purchase of the C-Jacks was well worth the investment and a form of insurance for the Authority. The results were immediate. They have virtually eliminated non-compliant and unsafe containers, and reduced maintenance costs on handling equipment.

“The amount of non-compliant loading via our ports has dramatically reduced and anyone that questions our results, is sent a BISON VGM certificate with the verified gross mass, load distribution and photos of the container instantly by email via the BISON App. That keeps them honest." - Andre Turiavaki, Assets and Operations Manager, Cook Islands' Port Authority.

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