The New Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”) Amendment
Ocean Freight Industry Issues That Cannot Be Ignored:
Weighty Industry Issues For Maritime
WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)
International ocean shipping has always been complicated. It’s about to become even more so: There’s an amended Safety of Life at Seas (SOLAS) weight rule adopted by the International Maritime Organization that declares: All packed ocean freight shipping containers destined for the port need to have their verified gross mass (VGM) properly certified before they can be loaded onto a ship for export.
THE INTERNATIONAL LAW GOES INTO EFFECT ON
JULY 1, 2016.
Here’s Why It Is Important (the WIIFM —What’s In It For Me?)
“A packed container, for which a verified gross mass has not
been obtained, will not be loaded on the vessel.”
~ Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s sixth-ranked carrier
What it means:
- If your paperwork is incorrect or incomplete, you and your cargo will have to go back and obtain the properly certified Verified Gross Mass (VGM).
- You may be forced to wait for the next vessel.
- You may lose sales, or even lose a customer to your competition!
- Your overseas customers will certainly be unhappy.
- Your CEO and CFO will be even unhappier.
What’s good about the new weight requirement?
- It makes the conditions safer for the carrier employees and port facilities workers who handle your cargo.
- Verified correct weights help to insure that containers prepared for ocean shipping can be properly balanced so the carrier does not list or tip or lose containers overboard (it’s happened).
- Accidents increase delays, which in turn increase COGS (Cost Of Goods Sold). Fewer accidents should reduce instead of increase COGS.
- Accurate container weights (not overweight, as tends to be the problem) reduce damage to ships, ensuring consistent availability of ocean transport.
- For more reasons to applaud this difficult but necessary regulation please see the World Shipping Council document at this
What you need to know:
- Your cargo must be dependably weighed and properly certified and submitted BEFORE it arrives at the port so that the carrier has time to process it.
- BGI Worldwide Logistics, Inc. is one ocean freight forwarder that has the properly equipped facilities to weigh your cargo to specifications so it 1) Passes inspection 2) Actually gets shipped!
What you need to do:
- Make sure your containers are weighed correctly and accurately for ocean export.
- Make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly. Accurate weights mean nothing if the paperwork is still incorrect.
- Make sure you know the rules of international container shipping. It’s tricky. Use experts that know how to weigh your products and correctly fill out the intricate paperwork (think tax forms) so your cargo can be shipped on time the first time.
- Ask your current shipping company if they are aware of the new rules.
Who can help:
We can. Container weight certification is but one of our many services. We are your Global Transportation Specialist.
One of the biggest problems with the soon-to-be enforced VGM law is that some of the details have yet to be worked out. There are benefits to the law, but because all countries have not yet issued final rulings, the regulations and penalties continue to be updated and changed. We at BGI keep on top of these changes. Remember, there can be problems with waiting until your cargo is at the port. If their weighing equipment is broken, if the port is not equipped to weigh your cargo, you’re out of luck. Weighing at the point of packing is the least risky. We know. We have to. It’s what makes us different.
Contact us if you have questions.
CALL FOR more information: 800.987.4244