The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require that as of 1 July 2016, a packed container being loaded for export must have its gross mass determined in advance through weighing – without exception.
Under the SOLAS amendments, there are two permissible methods for weighing: weighing the container after it has been packed; or weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container. The shipper cannot use a weight given by a third party, or estimate the weight.
Ultimate responsibility for this will lie with the shipper, meaning the person or entity named on the ocean bill of lading. In order for this verification to be compliant, it must be signed by a specific person representing the shipper, who is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation. What has yet to be fully defined are key aspects of the required accuracy of compliant VGM systems and where this will take place.