In view of major incidents and accidents resulting from overweight containers, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) with the below new requirement:
- the shipper is responsible for providing the verified weight by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan; and
- the verified gross mass (VGM) is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship.
The verification of the gross mass can be achieved by either of two methods:
- weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or
- weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.
This requirement will become legally effective on 1st July, 2016. After that date, it would be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container onto a vessel if the shipping documents does not provide for the verified gross mass and the vessel operator and marine terminal operator do not have a verified container weight. This requirement will apply globally. Shippers, freight forwarders, vessel operators, and terminal operators will all need to establish policies and procedures to ensure the implementation of this regulatory change.
For detailed information on this new requirement, please kindly follow this link to the International Maritime Organization’s webpage.
If you are interested in this topic and would like to contribute or discuss further, please contact EuroCham Transportation & Logistics Sector Committee. For more information, please kindly visit the Sector Committee’s webpage here.