Following recent news that there was much ambiguity surrounding the upcoming Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulation, a consortium of 17 carriers entitled the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), has announced that it is aiming to implement a 24-hour advance filing rule as a guide for shippers, to enable them to send verified gross mass (VGM) declarations to container lines, according to the Journal of Commerce.
Bill Payne, Vice Chairman at NYK Line in North America, said: “This is a matter of discipline and process. What OCEMA is doing is process-mapping how carriers today get the information on the 24-hour rule, and how they could then do it under the SOLAS VGM, no more, no less. So steady as she goes, we take a breath, we go through the process.
“From the carrier side it’s a little hard for us to just understand the entirety of a commercial transaction, but nobody rolls out of bed in the morning and decides they’re going to export freight that day.
“There is a commercial process, there may be a letter of credit, there is a lot involved and there is a lot of data available that heretofore maybe we haven’t exposed.
“I think safety is paramount for much of what we do and should be, and I don’t think it is mutually exclusive to the fluidity of the supply chain.”
The new container weighing regulations, which are being directed and implemented by the International Maritime Organization, requires shippers to verify the gross mass of a container in one of two ways.
The first is by weighing the shipping container and its contents together, while the second requires that the container and the contents be weighed separately.