Is the World Ready to Weigh?


The World Shipping Council (WSC), together with TT Club, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) have jointly released a second Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document designed to support the smooth implementation of the container weighing regulations that take effect globally on 1 July 2016.

This comes amid reports that an international company, based in France, had set up a database containing the tare weights of containers globally, in order to help shippers comply with VGM declarations.

The IMO has also advised on a 3-month ‘settling in’ period to prepare for the new rule, which appears to be necessary in the wake of global confusion, as well as a statement recently released by Maersk Line stating that the industry can expect to see a bumpy first six months.

The amendments to International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) require packed shipping containers to have a VGM before they can be loaded on a ship for export.

Like the initial joint industry FAQ document, published in December, 2015, these new supplementary FAQs are based on actual questions from affected stakeholders regarding proper implementation of the new regulations. 

The supplementary FAQs include new questions and answers as well as expanded answers to some of the questions listed in the December FAQs. 

Technical Paper: Container Weighing Explained

As such, these FAQs do not introduce new interpretations or approaches, but seek to provide further assistance in explaining the SOLAS VGM requirements by building on existing guidance material.  

Some of the supplementary FAQs explain in more detail how the SOLAS container VGM requirements should be fulfilled in various circumstances as described in questions received from supply chain parties. 

Other supplementary FAQs are intended to give additional information regarding the two methods that may be used under the SOLAS VGM requirements to obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container.  

Download the container weighing eBook

Stakeholders are urged to continue to approach any collaborating organisations with additional questions that may arise after the enforcement date of the regulation on July 1.

Contact details of subject-matter experts from each of the organisations can be found at the end of the FAQs document.

Container safety is a shared responsibility, and all parties have an interest in improving the safety of ships, their crews and others throughout the containerised supply chain while reducing the risk of damages to cargo.

Watch PTI’s latest container weighing video below:

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