ICHCA International, the global cargo handling NGO, will hold a practical seminar entitled “One Month to Go – Are You Ready?” in Antwerp, Belgium to discuss industry preparations around the three main themes of compliance, communication and contingency planning.
With much confusion still surrounding how VGM will be regulated, the first session of the day will be dedicated to compliance.
Matthew Gore, Partner at global law firm Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), an ICHCA member, will be among the panellists.
Mr Gore said: “It is expected that many competent authorities will be publishing their requirements shortly for implementation and enforcement in their jurisdictions, leaving very little time for the industry to act on these and be ready for 1 July.
“It is clear that different approaches and timetables are being followed in different jurisdictions. This has been clearly reflected when we canvassed some of our other offices which have also been actively working in this area with clients such as terminals, carriers, forwarders, shippers and others in the container supply chain to ensure readiness for July 1.”
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During the seminar, Matthew and other legal experts, including Jos van der Meché of Dutch law firm AKD, will explore the different approaches to implementation being taken by national authorities across Europe and elsewhere, and discuss the compliance implications for various supply chain members and sectors, including European short sea shipping operations.
Ian Dunmill, Assistant Director for OIML, the International Organisation for Legal Metrology, who will also speak at the Antwerp seminar, said: “While the physical problem of a lack of suitable weighing equipment will no doubt be an issue at the beginning, my main concern is the lack of a harmonised approach to the regulation of [container] weighing instruments.
“In the interests of international harmonisation and avoidance of barriers to trade, there should be a common basis for legislation regulating container weighing instruments and that basis should be accepted internationally.”
Large and often complex supply chains operating under new VGM legislation will require communication between all parties.
In the second session of the day, acquiring VGM data and getting it communicated in a timely manner along the supply chain will be the focus of discussion.
Representatives from a wide array of VGM technology providers, including Avery Weigh-Tronix, Bromma Conquip, Conductix-Wampfler, Hirschmann, Intercomp and Strainstall, will come together to discuss the various weighing options now available, while looking at the different approaches now being adopted, and explore the issues of ensuring timely data flow and submission.
On the third panel of the day discussion will turn to contingency planning where discussions will take place around how to put contingency plans in place to counter the inevitable problems that will arise in the early days after July 1.
The panel will also consider longer term strategies for what to do when things go wrong with the VGM process, especially for more sensitive cargo such as perishables and dangerous goods.
The day will finish with a look at the related issues of safe container packing and securing, and discussion of industry training needs with James Douglas, Director of online training specialist Exis Technologies.
Captain Richard Brough OBE, Technical Advisor of the ICHCA and Delegate to the IMO, concluded: “With one month to go, it is vital that we get round the table and discuss how we can meet SOLAS VGM requirements with minimum disruption.
“Antwerp is a major European container logistics hub, and a perfect location to host an open discussion with input across the supply chain. This will help us develop compliance, communication and contingency methods that work for everyone, everywhere.”
Watch an excusive interview with Jonathan C. Williams of FONASBA where he discusses who will enforce the new SOLAS regulation.