Confusion over SOLAS VGM requirements pervades



© Journal of Commerce
© Journal of Commerce

Uncertainty still prevails over the new verified gross mass (VGM) requirements enacted by the International Maritime Organization earlier this year, and may adversely affect shippers in less than three months.

According to the Journal of Commerce*:

  • Operators of all 13 terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are ill-equipped to weigh containers according to SOLAS guidelines before they are loaded onto ships.  Since the SOLAS requirements will be effective on July 1, the port complex advises that “shippers will have to make other arrangements for obtaining the required verified gross mass of the containers.”
  • China is the world’s leading generator of export containers, but has still not published SOLAS container weight guidance. Only 10 countries of the 162 signatories to the SOLAS treaty have had their guidelines and regulations published to the website of the World Shipping Council, a group that represents roughly 90 percent of global container capacity and was a major player in the creation of the new rule.
  • Non-compliance with the VGM requirements can have severe consequences:  OOCL, a major Hong-Kong based carrier said “the ‘no VGM, no loading’ principle would apply, and terminals observing the SOLAS Convention and/or local regulatory requirements would reject containers at the gate if no VGM was provided. In addition, the shipper would be responsible for the potential regulatory penalties and all costs associated to the exception handling of the containers without the VGM.”

(*JOC site registration may be required)

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