The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Container Weight Verification Requirements relating to weight verification requirements will go into effect July 1, 2016. These weight verification requirements were promulgated by the International Maritime Organization which adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. These will be mandatory globally on all containerized maritime shipping. What do these require and how will they impact Exporters?
- Shippers must provide a gross weight certificate to the ocean carrier and the port terminal operator in advance of vessel loading.
- The Certification must be “signed”, meaning a specific person representing the shipper is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper
- Containerized cargo will not be loaded unless the shipper has provided a verified weight certificate.
- World Shipping Council (WSC) requirements will apply to all cargo tendered by forwarders and NVOCCs as well as by beneficial cargo owners. (The WSC is the major global ocean carrier organization which has most of all container operators as members; therefore how SOLAS will be implemented by WSC will become the global standard).
- WSC has stated that NVOCCs such as GlobeRunners, as “shippers”, will need to separately verify the container weight prior to having the cargo loaded.
- Exporters tendering containers to Globerunners as an NVOCC will have to provide a signed gross weight certificate to Globerunners; if an outside 3rd party is utilized by the shipper to provide the certification it shall be on behalf of both the Shipper and GlobeRunners, at Shipper’ expense; if GlobeRunners is requested to obtain a gross weight certification on behalf of Customer, it shall be at the expense of Customer.
- Costs incurred by the vessel operator or terminal operator due to SOLAS issues shall be for the account of the Customer.
- SOLAS regulations provide for two separate methods to obtain the verified gross weight of containers:
- Weighing the entire container, using calibrated and certified equipment.
- Weighing all of the packages that are stowed in the container, including pallets, dunnage and other packing material, and adding the tare weight of the container.
- Vessel operators will establish “cut-off times” by which they must receive the required container weight verifications.
Customers Suggested Preparations:
- Identification of facilities that possess the required certified weighing equipment.
- Review of insurance policies to insure coverage of costs arising from SOLAS issues.
- Commence preparing with GlobeRunners for SOLAS by planning with GlobeRunners in the allocation of responsibilities, costs, and identification of staff involved in the process.
- Staying abreast of developments as the implementation date approaches.
In summary, the above requirements can result in cargo being rolled over; in costs related to non-loading of cargo due to overweight or not obtaining appropriate Certificates; costs related to having to obtain appropriate certifications; and any number of other consequences involved in the implementation of these requirements. Customers should take the time now to start planning on these matters, and to commence making arrangements with third parties, including GlobeRunners, to accomplish these requirements prior to the implementation date.