Experts within the shipping management services industry will testify to the importance of container weight, especially where international shipping company regulations and paperwork are concerned. If a container’s gross mass does not meet industry requirements, then you can forget about shipping it anywhere after the implementation date.

This is the latest news from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which announced a change in the SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) regulation taking effect globally from the 1st of July 2016.

SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) – an international safety treaty focused on ensuring that organisations meet industry standards in equipment, construction and operations – is not new to changing industry standards. Apart from its origin, when the first version was adopted after the sinking of Titanic in 1914, SOLAS has continued to lay the ground rules for shipping logistics by setting goal-based standards for oil tankers and bulk carriers.

With their latest adaption, they aim to eradicate the misdeclaration of container gross mass, estimated to be a third of the containers shipped today. Each container weight must be verified using one of the approved SOLAS methods.  If the verified gross mass (VGM) is not declared prior to delivery of the container to the port, the container will not be accepted.

So how will this unfold?

Shipping companies are expected to have the container weight verification conducted by using the following methods:

Method 1 – Upon conclusion of packing and sealing the shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weighs, the packed container.

Method 2 – The shipper, (or by arrangement of the shipper, a third party), may weigh all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material, to be packed in the container,  and add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses using a certified method.

Meeting these SOLAS requirements means a change in operation for your business. Taking into account the time consuming and costly efforts of having to initiate the process, it will surely have an impact on your flow of production and shipping quotes.

How can you avoid this inconvenience?

Do not fret. Among the sphere of shipping companies South Africa has, Belfreight is proudly offering a hassle-free solution for verification of the gross mass of full containers using method 1 or using method 2 for LCL (less than container load)

Belfreight aims to take the uncertainty out of your equation and simplify the task at hand. For more information on the change in shipping regulations and our solution to SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) regulation method 1 or 2 contact Belfreight via email or call us on 011 794 2175.