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In May 2014, the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee approved changes to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention regarding a mandatory container weight verification requirement on shippers. This is an effort the World Shipping Council has been advocating for many years. Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargo and Containers (DSC) Sub-committee approved changes to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention will require verification of container weights before loaded containers may be placed aboard ships. The DSC report was approved by the Maritime Safety Committee in May 2014 and adopted by the committee in November 2014.

The requirement making container weight verification a condition for vessel loading will become legally binding on 1st July, 2016. 

The SOLAS amendments are clear in assigning responsibilities, summarized below:

  • The shipper is responsible for providing an accurate “verified gross mass”
  • The vessel operator and the terminal operator must not load a container aboard a vessel without a VGM.

For shippers to establish an accurate verified gross mass, two methods are available:

Method No. 1
The shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weigh, the packed container.

Method No. 2
The shipper (or, by arrangement of the shipper, a third party) may weigh all packages and cargo items and add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses of the container’s contents.

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