Watch your weight! Relax, your belly line is not our topic of discussion. However, we are here to discuss the issues of over filled containers affecting vessels.
Loss of lives, vessel instability, damage to dock and port machinery, cargo ships and freight are some of the horrors the shipping industry faces on a regular basis due to inaccurate container weight.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has taken a fantastic initiative to make sure that a sustainable approach is taken when it comes to dealing with container weight. Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is the requirement to verify container weight as a condition before cargo is loaded onto a container ship. Memorandum MSC. 1/Circ. 1548 was issued on May 23, 2016 by the IMO to enforce the requirement within three months starting on July 1, 2016. The memo helps to clarify several topics for ocean freight.
The three months’ transitional period is certainly to everyone’s benefit and will help the industry to polish out any of the rough edges and refine SOLAS. The circular clearly states that the transition period’s aim is twofold. In the first place, it permits packed containers that are loaded on a ship before the July 1 deadline and are transshipped on or after July 1 to be shipped to their final port without a declaration of their Verified Gross Mass (VGM)
On October 1 the initiative will come into full effect and complete enforcement of the original legislation will need to be observed. We also should remember that if a country has not published national legislation on the subject, the SOLAS amendment is still in force.
SOLAS is a significant change for everyone in the shipping industry and may seem a bit overwhelming at first as it stipulates the calibration for the scale, followed by how cargo should be weighed, and when the weighing should occur and several other smaller complex factors. However, we can rest assured knowing that most nations are taking an active role in setting up SOLAS guidelines.
Several countries have dispersed comprehensive guidelines and many others are using the three-month transition period to getting things done. The World Shipping Organization is actively tracking all initiatives from all member states.
You can always reach out to us for any further explanation or question that you have related to SOLAS and in case you want to know a bit more about INCOTERMS do check out one of our previous post.