USCG: US Container Weight Rules Same as in IMO’s SOLAS

The existing U.S. laws and regulations for providing verified container weights are equivalent to the requirements in International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Regulation VI/2, according to a recent update from the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

In a letter sent to IMO, the USCG has outlined its determination that its current regulatory regime provides for other entities within the container export chain to work in combination with the shipper to determine and verify container weights, and it provides ships’ masters with container weights in order to ensure ships are loaded and operated safely.

“This equivalency acknowledges the dynamic and flexible business relationship between the entities in the export chain, and it provides flexibility for these entities to reach arrangements in order to ensure compliance with the SOLAS amendments that come into effect on July 1, 2016,” the USCG said.

Shippers, carriers, terminals, and maritime associations have outlined multiple acceptable methods for providing verified gross mass (VGM), including the instances when the terminal weighs the container, and when duly authorized, verifies the VGM on behalf of the shipper, also when the shipper and carrier reach an agreement whereby the shipper verifies the weight of the cargo, dunnage, and other securing material, and the container’s tare weight is provided and verified by the carrier.