Guidelines for Improving Safety and Implementing the SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirements

World Shipping Council
July 1, 2015

Summary

In November 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted mandatory amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2 – Cargo information. The SOLAS convention is applicable global law. The SOLAS amendments become effective on 1 July 2016 for packed containers received for transportation (gate-in or off-rail). They place a requirement on the shipper of a packed container, regardless of who packed the container, to verify and provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship. A verified container weight is a condition for loading a packed container aboard a vessel for export. The vessel operator and the terminal operator are required to use verified container weights in vessel stowage plans and are prohibited from loading a packed container aboard a vessel for export if the container does not have a verified container weight.

This document provides an outline of what the implementation of the SOLAS amendments requires of the various commercial parties.

Introduction

  1. 1 In order to address safety problems at sea and on shore arising from container shipments that have incorrect weight declarations, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, Chapter VI Regulation 2 – Cargo information regarding a mandatory container gross weight verification, together with associated guidelines published as MSC.1/Circ. 1475 (hereinafter referred to as the IMO Guidelines).1
  1. 2 The SOLAS amendments were adopted in November 2014 and will enter in to force on
    1 July 2016. The intervening period should be considered to be the transition or planning period. All regulated parties need to be prepared to implement and abide by the container weight verification requirements by 1 July 2016. This period should also allow time for regulated parties to prepare for required process and documentation changes and to test information transmission enhancements in advance of the effective date.
  1. 3 The effect of these requirements on containerized supply chains is that the verification of the gross weight of a packed export container will be required before the container is loaded aboard a ship. To ensure compliance with the SOLAS amendments, participants within the supply chain (especially shippers, carriers, and terminal operators) will need to establish and implement processes to ensure that the verified container weights are provided to the necessary parties in a timely fashion and are used by the terminal operator and vessel operator in the vessel’s container stowage plan.
  1. 4 These Guidelines have been drafted by the World Shipping Council, in consultation with its member companies, as advice on implementing the SOLAS amendments. These Guidelines identify elements both of the regulatory requirements and of a non-regulatory nature that companies with commercial roles and activities within the international containerized transport supply chain will need to consider.

See the full document here: http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/WSC_Guidelines_for_Implementing_the_SOLAS_Container_Weight_Verification_Requirement.pdf

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