Update to the 1974 SOLAS Convention

New standards and requirements on sea cargo carriage

This note is to inform you that because the IMO (International Maritime Organization) has implemented amendments to the 1974 SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention, new regulations regarding sea cargo will be in force starting 1 July 2016. The 1 July 2016 date applies to departure of ships from port and makes it compulsory to declare the VGM (Verified Gross Mass) of every container before the cargo is placed on board the vessels.

This obligation is with the "Shipper", which may either weigh the entire container after sealing or, alternatively, sum the weights of the container (tare), individual packages, packaging materials, trappings and fixings. Such weighing must always be made using specific suitably-certified weighing machines.

The VGM must be notified to the individual Shipping Lines through the channels which the Lines will indicate in their web portals. The figures must be sent sufficiently in advance of boarding so that they can be used to prepare and implement stowage plans.

Failure to comply with the VGM notification obligation will cause not only the containers to not be loaded, but the additional costs for storage, stay or the return of containers to place of origin, all of which will be charged to the sender. The consequences of any differences found during inspection  or communication errors, will be charged to the Shipper.  At an early stage, some changes may occur to the cut-offs by the port operators and shipping companies, with consequent changes to loading slots. To avoid inconvenience, we therefore request your utmost cooperation.

For more details, we invite you to consult the SOLAS 1974 Convention and the relevant national provisions that implement it.