Intermodal to Make Waves in Europe


Since the introduction of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendment on 1st July 2016 requiring the certification of gross mass for containers, there has been much uncertainty, especially with regards to the documentation process, level of compliance and the degree of accuracy in the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) information provided.

A critical move towards improved safety of the global transportation of containers – successful implementation could significantly reduce asset loss and damage, as well as being a preventative method for injury or fatalities to personnel.

As a regulation that affects the whole supply chain, it is of great importance that clarification is sought to encourage a collaborative effort towards execution across the industry. Day One of Intermodal Europe will provide attendees with an afternoon exploring ‘Container Weighing: How is the new SOLAS amendment working in practice?’ The sessions will be presented by specialists within the industry and chaired by James Baxter, Director at Webster Robertson. 

James Baxter said: “This series of presentations and subsequent discussion should help to throw light on how the initial issues have been tackled, the results to date and what we could expect to see in the future.

“Attendees will have a clear view of the progress being made with this controversial, but vital, enhancement of the regulatory environment for safe transport of goods by sea.”

Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director at TT Club, will kick off discussions with an ‘Overview of the responsibilities of each party and how these responsibilities are being met’. The presentation will outline the amendment and focus on analysing what it means for various stakeholders within the supply chain.

Storrs-Fox said: “New regulation always carries an element of difficulty or discomfort, and often unintended behavioural consequences”, states Storrs-Fox. “Feedback on such a safety requirement that impacts millions globally is therefore vital.”

The session will give insight into how the amendment has been operating since the regulation became mandatory on 1 July 2016 and its connection to broader safety initiatives in the supply chain will be given.

‘Experiences and implementation in the port’ will be presented by Darren Snow, Business Development Manager at Strainstall.

Snow said: “With many terminal operators still implementing solutions and many yet to consider their options, attendees will hear some real-life experiences from terminals in Europe and beyond on implementing SOLAS VGM.”

Mikko Mäkinen, Sales Director at Tamtron will present, ‘Container Weighing: SOLAS storm from the scale provider’s perspective’, focusing on rapid product development and customer implementation, type approvals and verification, and weighing information management.

Mäkinen said: “There’s been a lot of talk in the media and in the industry regarding SOLAS.”, states Mäkinen. “The container handling industry has faced a big challenge due to these requirements, which are new and still pretty unfamiliar to many. We wish to bring a different perspective: as experienced weighing industry professionals we see this as a new market opening for many already proven solutions and practices.”

Also on the agenda is ‘VGM – Who Pays the Bill?’, presented by Graeme Parkins, Managing Director at Hy-Dynamix Limited. Focus will be placed upon reflecting and learning from first-hand experiences, as we approach six month’s post the amendment.

“Our first impression is that there has not been the anticipated “Big Bang”, but we are now starting to understand the true implications of the legislation.” states Parkins “We will be looking at the story behind the regulations – what are the true costs and who is paying. We will also look at how the SOLAS rules are being implemented in different countries as there are variations.”

Presentations will conclude with ‘Weighing Containers Outside of the Terminal’ presented by Dr Mark Fahey, Chief Technical Officer at BISON Group Limited outlining the four reasons why shippers should consider verifying container weights before they enter the logistics chain and some of the solutions emerging to enable this.

Dr Fahey said: “With the spotlight on the SOLAS VGM rules this year, less attention has been paid to the CTU Code and its best practice guidelines on where and when container weights should be verified. However, both SOLAS and the CTU Code have been a catalyst for innovation and improvements in the weighing and shipping industry, which are well worth discussing.”

Sophie Ahmed, Event Director, said: “We are pleased to be hosting the Container Weighing discussion at Intermodal Europe 2016. A development in the industry that affects the whole supply chain, it is important that the industry explores the progress and implementation to date and how the SOLAS amendment is working in practice. Our speakers will aim to provide a platform for discussion and clarity of understanding on how the industry can work together to move forward with the amendment.”

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