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  May 30th, 2016 | Written by

U.S. Organization Announces Major Container Weighing Initiative

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  • OCEMA is discussing with the FMC to allow ports and terminals to implement container weighing services.
  • OCEMA administrator: “We’ll try and come to some sort of common way of doing it.”
  • OCEMA: The idea is to make the container-weighing process as seamless as possible.

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) is working with six major U.S. ports to develop a solution that would enable exporters to comply with the container weighing rule.

That requirement rule is derived from new amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. Starting on July 1, 2016, global shippers will be required to provide a VGM for each container before it is loaded on a vessel.

OCEMA is due to start discussions with the Federal Maritime Commission to allow ports and terminals to create a plan for implementing weighing services.

“We’ll try and come to some sort of common way of doing it to make it more streamlined for those ports that are participating,” said Stacey Normington, administrator for OCEMA, “but it will be up to each individual port and terminal location to determine how it will work. The idea is to make this process as seamless as possible, and work to make it easier for the shippers to comply.”

With only a month to go before the new regulation comes into effect, there appears to be much confusion over how shippers will be able to comply. A recent Drewry survey indicated that many shippers and forwarders still don’t know how to comply with new SOLAS VGM rule and that a majority of shippers expect container shipment delays as a result of the implementation of the rule.

The requirement is for the shipper to ensure that the verified gross mass of a container is declared before being loaded onto a ship. However, the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency responsible for enforcing the regulation, has declared that it is allowing “entities within the container export chain to work in combination with the shipper” to produce the VGM and supply it to the ocean carrier.

OCEMA has adopted a best practice for the VGM process designed to minimize burdens on shippers, carriers, terminals, and others by providing a standardized U.S. framework for VGM compliance while making as few changes from present practices as possible. It also addresses concerns raised by export

shippers regarding container tare weight, gate acceptance, and options for transmitting VGM to