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, add up the weights of the container, individual packages, packaging materials, trappings and fixings. Such weighing must always be made using specific suitably-certified weighing machines. Should the company be equipped with a certified weighing machine, we advise proceeding independently with defining the VGM before the container leaves the place of origin.
The VGM must be notified to the individual Shipping Lines through the channels which the Lines will indicate in their web portals. This information must be sent sufficiently in advance of boarding so it can be used to prepare and implement stowage plans in good time. The VGM may only be communicated by ISO 9001- or 28000-certified operators or, alternatively, whoever meets the AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) requirement.
In cases of ISO certification only, it will be necessary to certify the flow of goods weighing. Provision is made for a transitional period until 1 January 2017, in which the shipper will be authorised to send the VGM, even without such a document, subject to prior declaration to the master's office that the weighing certification procedure has been initiated. On behalf of its customers, D. B. Group can carry out the organization or execution of such charges subject to prior agreement and mandate. Failure to comply with the VGM notification obligation will cause not only the containers to not be loaded on board, 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 (tolerance is 3% and up to a maximum of 500 kg) 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.
Finally, please note that the operational procedures in terminals and ports are still being defined, so further legislation in this area may be passed, resulting from current discussions also those with trade associations.
For more details, please consult the SOLAS 1974 Convention and the relevant national provisions that implement it.
For additional information, please contact our offices by sending an e-mail to: email@example.com