Sending Goods By Sea
If you or your suppliers send goods by sea in containers, from 1st July 2016 it will become mandatory for all containers worldwide to have their Verified Gross Mass (gross weight) declared prior to loading on a ship.
This is an important change from the current system, where weights are advised at the time of booking by the party loading the container.
This weight is passed to the ship’s owner, without any additional checks.
Reason For SOLAS Regulation
The purpose of the new SOLAS regulations being to ensure that containers are safely stowed on ships, bearing in mind currently the weight of many containers carried is wildly inaccurate.
Under & Overweight Containers
It is important to note that an underweight container can be just as unsafe as an overweight container, especially if it loaded at the bottom of a stack of containers containing heavy cargo.
The new system requires shippers to verify the gross weight of each container booked, which normally means totalling up the verified gross weight of each package loaded into a container and adding on the tare weight of the container itself, which is obtained from the container’s CSC plate.
The alternative would be to weigh the whole loaded container on a certified weighbridge.
As this SOLAS regulation will be incorporated in law from 1 July in most countries, including the UK and China, It will be mandatory that all weights are verified.
A verified Gross Mass is obtained by using certified weighing equipment that is capable of producing a written record of what has been weighed.
This record then need to be retained by the party loading the container in case of audit or dispute.
Consequesnce Of Not Following Regulations
The consequences of the regulations being ignored are that from 1 July containers sent to port without a VGM (Verified Gross Mass) declaration will not be approved to load on a ship.
Furthermore, any containers that are found not to match a declared VGM will have to be re-weighed at port and as the regulations will have been incorporated into law a fine may also be levied, especially if the declared VGM cannot be backed with written evidence of weight that matches the VGM.
We believe that a small tolerance of +/- 3% will be allowed for, but this would be at the absolute discretion of the authorities in the country of despatch.
You will not be responsible for the adhering to these new SOLAS regulations if you purchase imports under FOB terms as it is your supplier’s responsibility up to the point when goods are loaded onto a ship.
It is still most probably a good idea to check that your suppliers are aware of the new regulations effective 1 July and have plans in place in order they are compliant.
LCL (Less than Container Load) part load sea freight
The regulations will still apply to LCL business but we plan to verify the total loaded weight of each whole container and so each individual LCL shipment will not need to have its weight verified.