SOLAS: Container weight verification compliance

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What it’s about

Effective July 1, 2016, shippers must include the verified gross mass of shipping containers leaving from any port, worldwide.

The new regulation, mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, requires shippers to weigh their shipping containers and provide a signed shipping document listing the verified gross mass prior to the containers being loaded onto the ship.

Impact to shippers and carriers

It falls to the shipper whose name appears on the bill of lading to ensure that the packed container has been weighed, and that the verified gross mass (VGM) has been documented correctly.

The carrier is responsible for ensuring that the verified gross mass of the container has been obtained prior to it being loaded onto the vessel. This requirement applies to all IMO member countries.

Containers that are loaded onto a vessel before July 1, 2016 are not required to have a documented VGM.

Weighing your containers

There are two approved methods for weighing the shipment containers:

  1. Shipper loads and seals the container, and then weighs the loaded container.
  2. Shipper weighs the cargo, including all the packing materials, and add the weight to the tare mass of the container.

Adjusting to the new rules

The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has advised port control authorities to allow some leeway in the first three months of the program, to allow shippers to refine their process.

The MSC stresses that there should not be any delays in the implementation of the SOLAS requirements, but concedes that Administrations and port State control authorities should take a “practical and pragmatic approach” when enforcing them, for a period of three months immediately following the July 1st implementation.


Talk to the experts

Livingston has the solutions you need, from ensuring your processes meet international trade compliance requirements to managing your ocean freight moves. Learn more about our services:

Want more information about the new SOLAS requirements for the verified gross mass of packed containers, or need assistance ensuring you have the processes in place to meet the July 1st deadline? Contact Livingston’s trade experts.

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