With the effective date of July 1 getting ever closer, the need for all involved in the international transport of containers to be prepared for the revised SOLAS Convention regulations on container weighing has recently been emphasised by freight transport insurance specialist TT Club.
TT Club has been leading, advising and consulting on the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) work to amend the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) for the past six years.
TT Club participated actively in the comprehensive IMO regulatory procedure to draft the revised regulation and accompanying guidelines that require verified gross mass (VGM) for every packed container before it can be loaded on board a ship.
Aimed at improving safety by ensuring accurate weight information is available, TT Club has been strongly promoting awareness of VGM throughout the period and particularly since adoption of the regulation by the IMO in November, 2014.
Andrew Huxley, Development Director for EMEA at TT Club, said: “We have seen a great deal of debate, which continues apace, about the most efficient way in which shippers can comply, how forwarders, lines, ports and terminals can assist in the weighing process and in streamlining the documentation trail.
“Many interests have pointed out pitfalls and potential bottlenecks in the transport chain. But more positive voices see opportunities to improve clarity about container contents among stakeholders and improved safety both on land and at sea.”
TT Club believe that ignorance of the demands of the regulation should not be an excuse for non-compliance or delay in the mandatory implementation of the regulation.
Despite this, uncertainty abounds on a global level, with a recent survey conducted by the Federation of National Associations of Shipbrokers and Agents’ showing that the situation for the container weighing rule various throughout 50 countries.
A number of industry associations representing shippers, forwarders and shipping lines have produced guidelines for their members.
TT Club, in partnership with World Shipping Council, ICHCA and the Global Shippers Forum have published the ‘VGM – Industry FAQs’, which is available in PDF format
Huxley concluded: “…VGM Awareness remains an unfulfilled mission that demands our further, wholehearted attention.”
Fact File: TT Club is the international transport and logistics industry's leading provider of insurance and related risk management services. As a mutual insurer, TT Club exists to provide its policyholders with benefits, which include specialist underwriting expertise, a world-wide office network providing claims management services, and first class risk management and loss prevention advice.