Broad industry coalition offers clarity on new container weighing regulations
The World Shipping Council (WSC), the TT Club, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) jointly released a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to address issues arising from the new container weighing regulations due to take effect globally on 1 July 2016. The amendments to the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention require packed shipping containers to have a verified gross mass (VGM) before they can be loaded on a ship for export, GSF said in its press release.
The 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. The FAQs have been developed by the industry coalition 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. Stakeholders are invited to approach any of the collaborating organisations with additional questions that may come up. Contact details of ‘subject-matter experts’ from each of the organisations can be found at the end of the FAQs document.
Container safety is a shared responsibility, and all parties have an interest in improving the safety of ships, the safety of cargo and the reduction of the risks to the lives of ships’ crews and others throughout the containerised supply chain.