Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international treaty concerning the safety of commercial vessels. SOLAS specifies minimum standard requirements (equipment, construction, operation, etc.) for ships. Amongst the many requirements are regulations governing safe stowage of laden cargo, including containerized cargo.
What is changing?
Recent amendments to SOLAS have been made that apply globally and come into effect on July 1, 2016. As of this date, there will be a mandatory obligation placed on shippers to verify the gross mass (weight) of packed containers before they can be loaded onto a ship. The shipper must also ensure that the verified gross mass (VGM) is recorded on the shipping document, and that an authorized person has signed the requested documentation acknowledging that the weight provided is verified.
There are two acceptable methods within the SOLAS amendments for obtaining the VGM of packed containers. They can be found in:
What do you need to do?
Shippers, freight forwarders, vessel operators, and terminal operators will be establishing policies and procedures to ensure that these requirements are being adhered to. To avoid delays and additional costs, you must ensure that an accurate and verifiable, weight is indicated on all of your shipping documents.
Cole’s clients may contact their personal account representative for more information. If you are unsure of who your account representative is, or if you are not a Cole client please contact us.