UPCOMING REGULATORY CHANGE: SOLAS VGM

Beginning July 1, 2016 the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) requirements will be put into effect.  All packed export containers will legally need verified gross mass (VGM) declaration, including all standard sea freight containers, tank containers, flat racks and bulk containers. Almost all global shipping volume will be subjected to this new SOLAS regulation. This will affect export operations worldwide as every country will work to comply with these new regulations, however Worldwide Logistics has been monitoring and reporting SOLAS updates throughout its development, and will guide our clients in order to remain compliant with VGM and minimize any impact to current operational flow.

The shipper / exporter / booking party will need to give Worldwide Logistics a written certificate of verified gross mass for each and every export container. Estimated weights will NOT be acceptable. Many carriers and terminals plan on adopting a “No VGM, No Load” or “No VGM, No Gate-In” policy. Containers that are missing VGM or have incorrect VGM when arriving at the terminal may be subject to a DO NOT LOAD from the carrier or require the container to be removed from the terminal until VGM is submitted/corrected.

There are two accepted methods shippers must use in order to calculate VGM:

Method 1:           Weigh the entire loaded container.

Method 2:           Weigh the cargo, any packaging/bracing/dunnage used, and the container’s tare weight. Tare weights are listed on the container’s door or are available on the carrier’s website.

Any weighing equipment (scale, weighbridge, lifting equipment, etc.) used to weigh the contents of the container must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the country or state in which the equipment is being used.

Worldwide Logistics has prepared a blank certificate that will be issued to clients along with the rest of the standard export documentation. The form contains all needed information for Worldwide Logistics to properly submit VGM to the carrier who will in turn transmit to the terminal. The shipper will be required to sign the completed form confirming the weight declared is accurate and true, and undertake liability if it is found differently by the carriers or any recognized authority.

Despite the prospective warnings from carriers regarding VGM compliance, most local authorities already announced they will not weigh the containers as they are delivered to the terminal.  A grace period of approximately 3-months will begin for VGM submissions starting July 1st until procedures for global VGM compliance are agreed among all carriers and terminals. Worldwide Logistics will use this time to assist clients in streamlining the SOLAS requirements into a part of their standard export process.

Please contact your local Worldwide Logistics representative if you have any questions regarding verified gross mass and subscribe to our newsletter for further updates on SOLAS implementation.