AMSA Amends Container Weight Rules

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is to implement changes to regulations for container weight verifications in the shipping industry from 1 July 2016, requiring shippers to provide a verified gross mass (VGM) for containers. 

AMSA said it has amended Marine Order 42 (cargo, stowage and securing) in order to implement the new international requirements.

These changes reflect amendments to the International Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS), approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Under the changes, the shipper is required to provide a signed VGM to the terminal and the master of a vessel or their representative, in advance of a container being loaded. Providing a VGM for a container allows the master of a vessel to plan ship loading.

AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley sees the need for accurate weight declarations as a critical safety issue.

“Incorrectly declared weights can result in container collapse, personal injury and damage to equipment,” Kinley said.

In addition, AMSA said it consulted with industry during March and April, which contributed to the development of these amendments.

The Australian legislation has required shippers to provide an accurate gross mass on maritime shipping documents since 1994 and, for this reason, many shippers will already comply with requirements for verified gross mass, according to AMSA.