Port of Felixstowe – Weighbridge for Special Cargo Services

Posted on: April 10th 2019   •   Posted in: Case Studies, Transport and Logistics

A ‘Special Weighing’ Solution

The Port of Felixstowe is the largest container port in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

It handles 4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year and provides service’s for over 3000 ‘ship calls’. Some of which are by the largest container ships in the world.

The Port, owned by Hutchinson Ports (UK) Limited, has two container terminals. They employ 2,500 people and are continuously investing and improving their services.  This keeps them ahead of the competition in the UK and Europe.

One of these improvements has been the provision of a new service; weighing containers to provide a Verified Gross Mass (VGM).

In recent years there have been serious concerns regarding the mis-declaration of container weights. As such, the SOLAS VI (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations have been amended. The legal obligation of all ports worldwide is not to load any laden export container that does not have a VGM. The responsibility for providing this rests with the shipper as named on the ‘Bill of Lading’.

Not everything can be conveniently shipped in a container. That’s why the port offers customers a specialised cargo service to handle ‘break-bulk consolidation’ and heavy lifting services.

This special cargo brought with it a requirement for a ‘Special Weighing’ solution!

A Custom Turnkey Installation

Due to the nature of the cargo in Felixstowe, it could not be weighed using the weighing devices fitted to the gantry cranes. The abnormal cargo is loaded and secured onto flat rack containers. They are then transported around the Port on top of MAFI trailers which have the capacity of carrying 100 tonnes.

The operational area and MAFI trailers meant that a traditional full size weighbridge could not be installed. It was unsuitable both above ground due to space and ramp issues, and below ground, due to the amount of excavations needed in an area that had many existing underground services.

Griffith Elder & Co Ltd were approached by the port of Felixstowe to come up with a complete weighing solution. Working closely with the Port management and the national authorities, Griffith Elder provided a complete turnkey installation as the ‘Principal Contractor’ onsite.

A customised heavy duty Multi-Axle Weighbridge was installed. This is capable of weighing multiple highly concentrated loads safely up to 150 Tonnes.

Weighing the Tug and MAFI trailer combination complete with its flat rack container and cargo. The operation is totally automatic without the need for an Operator at the time of weighing. Data for each weighing is transmitted wirelessly to the Ton-Tel Transport Management Software which is located away from the weighbridge in the area office.


Weighbridge tickets are produced automatically, allowing an Operator to enter the required associated data later at a convenient time. The data to be associated is defined by the customer. In this case, the port required only Container and Vehicle references.

The ticket is not classified as finished until all of the entries are complete ensuring no data is missing. The vehicle can be selected from a ‘drop down’ list of pre-defined vehicles. This drastically reduces operator error. The software also allows for vehicle tare weights to be assigned to the correct vehicle and then to complete a ticket with Gross, Tare and Net weights. In this case the net weight is the Verified Gross Mass of the flat rack container.

Ton-Tel Software

The Ton-Tel Transport Management Software has powerful reporting facilities. Reports are preconfigured so they can be reproduced manually or automatically on a schedule that saves to the desired location on the network. Any computer on the network is able to view the weighbridge tickets in ‘real time’ and run reports. It is also possible to integrate with the Client’s data directly with access provided to the weighbridge database.

We have decades of experience in developing ‘Weighing Solutions’ for all types of Customers. The Griffith Elder philosophy is to provide its customers with the correct weighing solution that will give exceptional performance, reliability, and value for money over many years.

Griffith Elder is proud to have helped the Port of Felixstowe to develop yet another ‘Industry first’ service, keeping the Port as the ‘Port of choice’ for its UK and overseas customers.

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