New Container Weighing Rules Explained

The amendments to the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention on the new container weighing regulations due to take effect globally on July 1, 2016, now prescribe that all packed shipping containers need to have a verified gross mass (VGM) before they can be loaded on a ship for export.

SOLAS amendments were adopted by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to enhance maritime safety and reduce the dangers to containerships, their crews, and all those involved in container transport throughout the supply chain.

A new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document has been released by the industry coalition, membered by the World Shipping Council (WSC), the TT Club, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF), 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.

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