Friday Focus: Compliance Doubts Around SOLAS VGM

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A year after the new SOLAS VGM rules were established on July 1, 2016, Strainstall has found that many countries are still not implementing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulation properly.

Simon Everett, Managing Director at Strainstall, a leading provider of container weighing systems, has told Port Technology that national bodies across the world are still “getting to grips” with the directive that protects the safety of ships and workers both on board and ashore when handling cargo.

The mandate states that the verified gross mass of any packed container must be declared prior to stowage on board the vessel.

This is not an optional requirement or an indication of best practice, but rather a legal obligation for all vessels affected by SOLAS regulations visiting any port in any IMO member state, anywhere in the world.

Everett said: “In truth, many [countries' national bodies] are still getting to grips with it and still getting used to what needs to be done to enforce this rule.”

Technical Paper Update: Container Weight Verification

In the interview (above) Everett states that the lack of enforcement is a key reason for the decree not being taken seriously. 

Before the regulation entered into force, the IMO softened its stance instructing that a “pragmatic approach” should be taken in the first three months in order to minimize supply chain disruption.

A survey by Drewry also found that many shippers and forwarders were not sure how they should comply with the new rules across their global networks.

But over a year later, Everett has stated that enforcement needs to happen “more consistently” if compliance is to reach higher levels as change is only “starting to come through”.

The IMO does not have remit or responsibility to enforce the regulations – this is the remit and responsibility of the Contracting Parties to SOLAS.

Watch the interview to find out more. 

Container Weighing eBook – Part 2

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