Guidelines - Mandatory container weight verification implementation
Due to the IMO requirement of container weight verification, that enters into force 1 July, 2016, we have compiled guidelines from various countries. For more information regarding this topic, please se previous Member Alert below.
Please be informed that on 9th March 2016, the Argentine Coastguard has enacted the attached Regulation 01-16, which gives effect to the provisions of rule VI/2 of the SOLAS and it will come into force 30 days after being published in the “Official Bulletin”.
According with Regulation 01-16, the “gross mass” of the loaded containers should be verified before being shipped on board, and it will be the burden of the supplier to proceed with such verification. In addition, it establishes that, as of 1 of July 2016, a loaded container will not be loaded on board unless the verified gross mass is indicated in the relevant packed container document, and the Master or his representative and the terminal have obtained such information.
The formal Notice emphasizes that the shipper is under responsibility and obligation to have the actual weight of the packed container to be verified before it is handed over to the vessel for shipment, whereas in respect of the international transshipped foreign trade packed containers that are loaded onboard outside mainland China before July 1 and then stopover at Chinese domestic ports after July 1, there is no requirement for the shipper to make them verified.
Moreover, as to the discrepancy between the verified weight provided by the shipper of packed container and the verified weight of such packed container obtained by maritime safety agency, carrying ship, carrier or terminal operator, which was provided as not exceed ±5% or 1 ton, it further provides under the formal Notice that if such weight exceeds the approved maximum deadweight of the container, the shipper shall have the weight of the packed container re-verified, and the same shall not be handed over to the vessel for shipment until meeting the aforesaid requirement.
- What is new about the SOLAS convention?
- Who take the responsibility for the verified gross mass?
- How accurate does the VGM need to be considering i.e. which weighing equipment can be approved internationally?
Eldipandi, our correspondent in Egypt, has gathered the most common questions regarding the new SOLAS convention and answers on their webpage.
Whilst the global law (amendment to the SOLAS Convention) has been implemented in national Law (Richtlinien zur Bestimmung der bestätigten Bruttomasse von Frachtcontainern),the necessary legislative procedure has not been finalized . We understand this process shall be finalized before 01.07.2016. Having said that there are presently merely some general guidelines available the latest developments can be taken from the official website of the responsible German Authority, Messrs. BG VERKEHR http://www.deutsche-flagge.de/en/safety-and-security/cargo/loading-of-containers?set_language=en
For containers that originate from Singapore, the policy of the port is as follows:
- No containers will be allowed inside the port without a VGM declaration from the Shipper.
- All entry gates at PSA terminals have a weigh bridge fitted. In total there are 52 weigh bridges fitted across the various terminal. As a container enters the port area, it will be weighed at one of these weigh bridges.
- All trailers in Singapore are registered with the LTA. As such their weights are certified. It thus becomes easy to ascertain the accurate weight of the container.
- In case the actual weight of the container if 5 T different then that declared weight in the VGM certificate, the container will be rejected and have to leave the port.
- In case the weight difference is less then 5 T but more then 5 % of the weight, the container will be allowed inside the port but will not be loaded on the vessel unless the certificate is changed.
- Any delays associated with this will have to borne by either the carrier or shipper as per the arrangements between them, but the port will not be concerned.
Spanish Ministry of transport is in the process of drafting a resolution aimed at establishing the guidelines to comply with SOLA´s amended requirements regarding the verified weight of a container prior to be loaded onto a ship. Even though IMO´s circular dated 9th of June 2014 already incorporated some conditions to be accomplished on the above, now it appears that the coming resolution will highlight following issues:
- A packed container shall not be loaded on board a ship, to which the SOLAS regulations apply, unless the master or his representative and the terminal’s representative have obtained, in advance of vessel loading, the verified actual gross mass of the container properly documented and signed by a person duly authorised by the shipper.
- Where the container is received by the Terminal without the verified weight, the master or his representative and the terminal’s one might provide a weight verification carried out by them but on behalf of the shipper.
- Above mentioned Ministry of Transport´s resolution will emphasize that it will be on the shipper the obligation/liability of getting the weight verification according to the methods stated in the SOLAS.
It is obvious that if the container is refused to be loaded, because the verification weight is not submitted, the damages arising out of its non-use, such as terminal’s piling and handling costs, will be for the shipper to sustain.
In the coming resolution it seems that specific infractions and relevant sanctions from the unfulfillment of the weight verification will not be contemplated. However, where a MOU´s inspection is effected and the lack of verification turns out the officers acting for Capitanía Maritima could qualify it as an “ irregularity” and not, in principle, as a deficiency.
The Coast Guard has determined that existing U.S. laws and regulations for providing verified container weights are equivalent to the requirements in SOLAS Regulation VI/2. Please find bulletin here.
Member Alert is published by The Swedish Club as a service to members. While the information is believed correct, the Club cannot assume responsibility for completeness.