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Are You Ready for Upcoming Major Changes in Container Weight Verification Requirements?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) will start enforcing the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers to ensure the safety of the ship, the safety of workers both aboard ships and ashore, the safety of cargo, and overall safety at sea. When this SOLAS requirement takes effect on July 1, 2016, the loading of packed containers will be denied onto a ship unless the verified gross mass of the container has been communicated sufficiently in advance to the ship’s master or his representative and the terminal representative in the preparation of the ship stowage plan. On July 1, the World Shipping Council (WSC) released a guideline for implementation of the new requirements regarding weight verification.

Some of the main points of the guidelines are:

Obtaining and documenting the verified gross weight of a loaded container is the responsibility of the shipper
The ocean carriers will consider whoever tenders the cargo to them as the shipper
Verified weights will be used for ship stowage planning
If verified weights are not received by the ocean carrier in advance, containers cannot be loaded onto any ship that is subject to SOLAS regulations
Costs incurred due to shipper’s failure to comply will be for the account of the cargo
The shipper will handle the verification of the gross mass of a packed container and stating the verified gross mass in the shipping document
The SOLAS regulations allow for two methods to be used to obtain the gross container weight.

The first would be to weigh the entire loaded container, using calibrated and certified equipment. Whether done by the shipper directly or at an outside service the shipper chooses, the scale equipment must meet applicable accuracy and calibration requirements of the State where the scale equipment is located.
A second method involves weighing all of the packages/items loading into the container, including pallets/dunnage/packing material and then adding the tare weight of the container
For questions about the major changes regarding verification and reporting of loaded container weight that are being implemented, please contact your OCEANAIR representative. These changes will affect all shippers, freight forwarders and NVOCC’s.