On November 21, 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the “Safety of Life at Sea” (SOLAS) convention.  Effective July 1, 2016, containers departing from any foreign port in the world must, by global law, list the Verified Gross Mass or “VGM” of the container as declared by the shipper.   The SOLAS amendment is an important step towards a safer maritime industry, and is a result of a long history of under declared weights  – the results of which can be seen below

This will surely have a huge impact on the industry, but – studies have shown that very few parties are prepared for the implementation.

While an abundance of resources are available for SOLAS, but unfortunately – very few hard facts yet.  Below is information & resources we found most helpful and information we are working on ourselves.   We will continue to add information as the industry prepares and announces information:

 

Resources:

IMO:   Memo MSC.1Circ.1548 (clarification on Tranship Policy for in-transit cargo after July 1)

APL:  SOLAS – APL handbook

GLOBAL Flyer:  SOLAS Flyer

JOC Guide for Shipper: JOC-Guide-for-shippers

Joint Sponsored FAQ:  SOLAS FAQ

TT Club SOLAS FAQ (Chinese):  SOLAS_VGM_FAQs_Chinese_WEB

MSC’s country guide:  VGM Information by Country

NCBFAA: Public SOLAS Resource Page

OCEMA Process Map:  Solas – OCEMA.VGM.Process.Map

World Shipping Council:  IMO Requirement for Container Weight Verification

Regional Implementation Guidelines:    Middle East, Asia and Australia  |  Europe and Africa   |   Americas

 

Articles:

Material Handling & Logistics: Mh&L provides answers to some Frequently Asked Questions

American Shipper: http://OCEMA addresses shipper liability

Holland & Knight:  https://www.hklaw.com/publications/us-coast-guard-comments-on-solas-verified-gross-mass-rule-implementation-02-19-2016/

JOC:  India increases tolerance levels. Offers no weigh services country wide

JOC:  Cut-off Times for VGM likely earlier

JOC: US Coast Guard provide alternative method of VGM verification

JOC:  Japan issues guidelines – including penalties

JOC:  China Issues guidelines – including random inspections

JOC:  SOLAS slowly and unevenly takes shape worldwide

JOC:  LA-Long Beach terminals won’t weigh containers to comply with SOLAS

NCBFAA:  NEI Newsletter Feb 2016

 

Ocean Carrier Policies:

APL:   SOLAS Home Page

CMA/CGM:  SOLAS Home Page

COSCO:  Cosco.Solas.Q&A

Evergreen:  Advisory March 23rd         Advisory April 12th (FAQ provided)            Advisory June 4th   (submission method provided)

Hapag-Lloyd:  Solas Home Page (VGM cut-off times, tare weights, online submission coming soon)

Hapag-Lloyd:   SOLAS Home Page                

Hyundai:  SOLAS Home Page

Maersk:  Maersk Home Page

MOL:  MOL Solas Flyer  (effective date from the FIRST Loading port on or after July 1, 2016)

MSC:  Partnering with INTTRA to submit VGM.

NYK: Solas Advisory Page (includes VGM cutoff times by country)

PIL:  VGM Submission methods

 

North America Terminal Policies:

APL’s Comprehensive List:  Terminal In-Gate Policies

APM Terminals to offer weighing services at 29 terminals worldwide: APM Terminals Press Release

Georgia Ports Authority – weigh services offered at no cost

Los Angeles/Long Beach Terminals – no weigh services available

Oakland Terminals – no weigh services available

Maher Terminal – New York/New Jersey – no weigh services available

MSC’s Comprehensive List:  Terminal In-Gate Policies

Port of Charleston – offering weighing services for exporters @ 25.00/container.

Port of Houston – No VGM/No gate in

Port of Savannah – offering weight services – no fee announced

Port Newark Container Terminal (PNCT) – weight services offered at 69.10/unit

Seagirt Terminal / Baltimore – offering weight services  – no fee announced

SSA/T18  / Seattle – No VGM /No gate in

Vancouver – No VGM/No gate in

Virginia Ports Authority – reversed earlier decision – will now offer weigh services – no fee announced

Washington United Terminals (WUT)/ Tacoma – in gate without VGM allowed, but the policy is still “under consideration”

 

Worldwide Terminal Policies:

Excellent resource – APL’s map:  SOLAS Worldwide Implementation Map

 

We encourage you to thoroughly review all information available on all websites and check with your shippers and/or regional authority.  The Journal of Commerce (www.joc.com) is an excellent source of information and we highly recommend a subscription to the JOC to stay on top of developments.   Using JOC or other sources is critical to understand how each country is dealing with SOLAS and to ensure you understand those jurisdictions applicable to your supply chain so as to avoid disruption in the flow of goods or increased costs in the way of penalties

 

Reminder – enforcement begins on July 1, 2016 and is in force in all ports worldwide.  IMO’s IMO Memo MSC.1Circ.1548   clarifies that cargo already in-transit as of July 1 will not be subject to SOLAS enforcement at transship ports.