Impact of mandatory weighing of containers

China Logistics News Network: The International Maritime Organization(IMO) has amended the SOLAS Convention to force containers to undergo total weight verification before shipment. The regulation will come into force globally on July 1, 2016. Yilishabai·teenbuer and Maxiya·peilu wrote an analysis of the resulting obligations of shippers, carriers and port terminals and the preparations to be made by the industry.
The International Maritime Organization(IMO) has amended the SOLAS Convention to require containers to undergo total weight verification before shipment. The regulation will come into force globally on July 1, 2016. Yilishabai·teenbuer and Maxiya·peilu wrote an analysis of the resulting obligations of shippers, carriers and port terminals and the preparations to be made by the industry. This paper focuses on the impact on shippers.
Part I: Impact on shippers
Background
Containers have been transported by sea for more than 50 years, and people will wonder why the compulsory weighing of containers began this year.
False declarations of container weight can result in the collapse of containers, casualties and damage to equipment and goods. Accidents caused by false declaration of container weight are common. The industry has launched an initiative on mandatory container weighing for the purpose of reducing and eliminating accidents caused by container weight. After many years of consultations, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee adopted an amendment to chapter VI of the SOLAS Convention in November 2014, making it mandatory for containers to be weighed. The amendment will enter into force on 1 July this year. This regulation will help the correct storage of containers on board the ship, reduce and avoid the occurrence of related accidents.
The introduction of the new regulations will affect all parties involved in the container transport supply chain, with shippers bearing the brunt.
What is a shipper
In order to facilitate the effective implementation of this provision, IMO has developed the Guide to Weight Validation for Accumulation Calculations of Cargo Containers(hereinafter referred to as the Guide).
The Guide defines "shipper" as a legal entity or person designated as shipper in a bill of lading or sea waybill or other equivalent multimodal transport bill(e.g. through a bill of lading), And/Or with or on behalf or on behalf of a shipping company.
In the actual working group, the shipper may be the cargo owner(cargo owner or exporter), the unshipped carrier, or the company or individual responsible for the packing.
III. Specific requirements
Three months before the container is to be loaded, the shipper decides on the method to obtain the total weight verification(VGM).
(1) Method of weighing
The SOLAS Convention provides the following two methods for container weighing:
The whole weighing method: the whole weighing of the cargo container with the checked and certified equipment;
Accumulation method: weighing all packaging and goods in containers using a weighing method approved by the competent national authority of the country where the packing is carried out, The overall weight of the cargo container is calculated by adding the chassis, liner, other fastening materials and the weight of the container itself.
The choice of weighing method depends entirely on the type of goods to be transported and the weighing facilities available to the shipper. For example, method II can not be used for goods that can not be weighed independently because of their own characteristics, such as scrap iron, unpackaged cereals and other bulk cargo.
In order to obtain VGM and other necessary certificates, shippers also need to look closely at the specific requirements of SOLAS Contracting Parties for packaging and weighing. For example, the notification(MNG534) issued by the British Maritime Authority(British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency) stipulates that the use of the second method of weighing must use the existing credit system(such as ISO9000). The use of method 1 is to be implemented using its weighing and measurement rules.
(II) VGM certificate
The shipper shall ensure that the container VGM certificate is signed by the shipper or its authorized person and that the VGM certificate is submitted in advance to the master or his representative and to the representatives of the terminal at the request of the master or his representative for the purpose of developing a stowage plan on board.
The shipper shall provide the gross weight of the container certificate to the master or his representative and the terminal operator as soon as possible in the form of a transport document, which may be part of the shipping instructions submitted to the carrier or may be a separate supporting material. The most important thing is to note that its total weight is "VGM." Information may be submitted in electronic form and the signature may be an electronic signature of the carrier or be replaced by the name of the authorized person(capital letter).
Although the SOLAS amendment requires the shipper to submit VGM to the captain and the dock, the IMO guidelines clarify that even if the shipper submits VGM to the captain, the captain can deliver VGM to the terminal operator. However, the shipper needs to submit the weight test certificate to the terminal operator when the container is transported to the relevant facilities at the terminal.
The new provision does not specify the specific time at which such information will be required, but merely indicates that it will be prepared prior to the loading plan. In order to ensure the smooth loading of containers, the shipper must communicate with the carrier and the terminal operator in advance and specify the time of submission.
Moreover, if these provisions are not met, the shipper may face severe penalties, depending on the provisions of the Contracting States.
In view of this, shippers should carefully consider the new provisions of the Convention and issues such as costs associated with container weighing and the allocation of responsibilities in order to evaluate and modify the terms of the contract.

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