As you are already aware, 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. Below are updated guidelines for compliance with the SOLAS requirements. These guidelines are subject to change, as there are still many issues being worked out and discussed among the many parties affected by this new rule. We expect changes and updates in the coming weeks and we will keep you advised of such changes.
In order to meet the requirements of SOLAS, shippers will need to adhere to the following procedures:
- SOLAS regulations provide for two separate methods to obtain the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of containers:
METHOD 1: Weighing the entire packed container, using calibrated and certified equipment.
METHOD 2: Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of the pallets, packaging, dunnage, strapping, and all other material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container as noted on the container doors to the sum of the single VGM (Container contents + container tare)
The Exception to Method 1 and 2 above: Contents packed by Shipper and contents were original sealed packages that had the accurate mass of the packages and cargo items (including any other material such as packing material and refrigerants inside the packages) clearly and permanently marked on their surfaces.
- Exporters tendering containers to GlobeRunners as an NVOCC will have to provide a signed Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Certificate with the VGM calculated using either Method 1, Method 2, or the Exception Method noted above to GlobeRunners; VGM Certificates provided directly by the Shipper, or if an outside 3rd party is utilized by the shipper to provide the certification, the VGM certifications shall be on behalf of both the Shipper and GlobeRunners, and that fact shall be noted on the VGM Certificate, at Shipper’s expense; if GlobeRunners is requested to obtain a gross weight certification on behalf of Customer, it shall be at the expense of Shipper and service charges may apply. To the extent that the VGM is signed by a person on behalf of both the Shipper and GlobeRunners, this Notice shall serve as authorization to that person to sign the VGM on behalf of GlobeRunners.
- Shippers must provide a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) to GLOBERUNNERS in advance of vessel loading.
- OCEMA BEST PRACTICES release has advised that the VGM cutoff is likely to be approximately ½ working day prior to the vessel cutoff in the case of a NO VGM, NO LOAD policy. This is currently not a firm cutoff time and is based solely on currently available information released by the ocean carriers. Updates will be provided as more information is made known to GlobeRunners.
- However, terminals reserve the right to have a NO VGM, NO GATE-IN policy if they choose. In such a case, the estimated VGM cutoff for such a terminal would be approximately 2-3 hours prior to the gate-in of the container. IT CURRENTLY APPEARS THAT MOST, IF NOT ALL MARINE TERMINALS IN THE UNITED STATES WILL IMPLEMENT A NO VGM, NO IN-GATE POLICY, meaning VGM will need to be submitted BEFORE the container can be ingated at the terminal. It is not clear at this time what procedure and policy will be put in place at rail ramps.
- Exact VGM cutoffs will be provided along with booking confirmation when bookings are made.
- 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 and/or GlobeRunners.
- The VGM can be submitted to GlobeRunners via a portal on our website (www.grunners.com). We can also set up an EDI link with our shippers who will have that capability. VGM can also be submitted manually (email or fax) and there are also various industry platforms being set up to achieve this electronically.
- The VGM information required is as follows:
- Booking number
- Container number
- Unit of Measure (KGS or LBS)
- Responsible Party (shipper) Name, Address and Contact Information
- Method utilized to accomplish the VGM requirements.
- Name of Authorized Person in ALL CAPS along with position
- Containerized cargo WILL NOT BE LOADED unless the shipper has provided a VGM. However, please note as stated above, that it currently appears most or all terminals may opt to be NO VGM, NO GATE-IN in which case the container would not even be accepted at the terminal until the VGM is received by the terminal. The trucker would be turned away at the gate.
- Costs incurred by the vessel operator or terminal operator due to missing, incomplete or inaccurate VGM shall be for the account of the Customer / Shipper
- All costs, charges and penalties arising due to missing, incomplete or inaccurate VGM (such as dry runs, trucking charges, cargo re-handle, export demurrage, etc) shall be for the account of the Customer / Shipper.
- Vessel operators will establish “cut-off times” by which they must receive the required container weight verifications and we will advise those cutoff times to our shippers on our booking confirmation.
Customers Suggested Preparations:
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 VGM; 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 well in advance of the implementation date.