Freight News, Sea

Container weighing rules will be ‘zero tolerance’

[ May 13, 2016   //   ]

Don’t believe rumours about ‘tolerance’ in the new SOLAS rules on verified gross mass for containers, speakers told a seminar at the recent Multimodal conference.

Containers which are already at sea on 1 July and need transhipment are the only deepsea boxes that will not be subject to the rules, said Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) technical advisor, Keith Bradley. (Though ro-ro containers on shortsea routes are exempt.)

And senior vice president of the World Shipping Council, Lars Kjaer, added that for containers that did not conform: “Loading will not happen. There is no leeway. This is global law which shipping lines will follow, so no VGM, no load.”

Kjaer says there needed to be close collaboration between shippers, carriers and terminals to work with these rules or “international trade will suffer”.

For instance, cut-off times for shippers to communicate the VGM to the carrier will be determined by the individual carrier according to local practice and arrangements.

Director of global and European policy at the UK’s Freight Transport Association, Chris Welsh, said that one of the accepted methods of determining VGM would  weighing all packages and cargo items, shippers need to be approved and accredited by the MCA and they need to apply by 16 June.

Captain Richard Brough of ICHCA added that, luckily, most UK ports say they will supply a weighing facility – at a cost – so that is always an option, at least in the short-term.




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