SOLAS Container Weight Verification – Update

Posted on Feb 12

On December 18, 2015, we posted an article regarding the new SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) container weight regulations, also referred to as the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) certification, due to be implemented July 1, 2016. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted mandatory amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) in regards to the verification of container weights.
Since information regarding the new regulation was published, there has been widespread confusion within the industry as to how these new regulations will be implemented and complied with. The IMO left the regulatory details to each of the 162 individual signatory nations. The main issue at hand is that the individual countries are, so far, not providing sufficient guidance or regulatory guidelines for shippers in their jurisdictions (in the U.S. the U.S. Coast Guard has responsibility).
Many within the industry fear that the new regulations will slow traffic through ports, and exactly how and where containers can or will be weighed for accuracy has not been determined. There is also the question of what happens if a container arrives at the port of loading and the weight differs from the VGM certificate provided by the shipper, arrives without a VGM certificate, or without the carrier having the certified VGM information provided electronically. These questions, and more, are being raised by the industry. To date, the U.S. Coast Guard has not issued any policy or published any official guidelines for the United States. Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard seems to tend towards leaving the implementation and logistics of how to handle the details of this requirement to the industry and itself being strictly focused on compliance with it.
There is hope within the shipping community that the effective date of July 1, 2016 will be delayed. V. Alexander & Co., Inc. will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates to our customers as soon as official information becomes available. As of today, the July 1, 2016 implementation date is still in effect.
You may access our original article here.