Industry Coalition Offers Clarity On New Container Weighing Regulations - Global Trade Magazine
  December 16th, 2015 | Written by

Industry Coalition Offers Clarity On New Container Weighing Regulations

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  • New shipping regs require packed shipping containers to have a verified gross mass before loading.
  • The IMO adopted new requirement to address a problem with shippers providing incorrect container weights.
  • Proper vessel stowage planning requires the verification of accurate container weights before loading.

The World Shipping Council (WSC), the TT Club, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) jointly released a new document to address issues arising from the container weighing regulations due to take effect globally on July 1, 2016.

The amendments to the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention require packed shipping containers to have a verified gross mass (VGM) before they can be loaded on a ship for export.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the new requirement to address a problem with shippers providing incorrect container weights. This had reportedly led to casualties such as the one involving the containership MSC Napoli in January 2007 off the coast of the United Kingdom.

Shippers were saddled with the task because vessel operators don’t have the capability to weigh containers that are being loaded. Verification of container weight must be obtained on-shore. Proper vessel stowage planning requires the verification of accurate container weights before loading.

The industry FAQs have been developed by the coalition in response to numerous questions from shippers, carriers, forwarders, and terminal operators about the steps they must take to ensure successful implementation of the new regulations.

This initial FAQs document seeks to clarify how the SOLAS container weight verification requirements will function in various situations.  It identifies commercial and operational arrangements that will have to be addressed, and it flags issues that must be dealt with by national governments.  The FAQs are based on actual questions from affected stakeholders, and they will be expanded as new issues emerge.  Stakeholders are invited to approach any of the collaborating organizations with additional questions that may come up. Contact details of subject-matter experts from each of the organizations can be found at the end of the FAQs document.

The FAQs document can be accessed here.

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