Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Freight Forwarders and Shippers Have FAQs Answered on Container Weighing Regulations

Ocean Shipping Interests Pull Together to Disseminate SOLAS Information
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – You can always tell when a subject is a big deal in the world of shipping when a slew of identical press releases arrive from a selection of logistics industry associations, and today one subject has generated such a huge response i.e. the matter of weighing freight containers. With new regulations coming into force 1 July 2016 shippers and freight forwarders have a plethora of questions which needed answering in good time so that suitable arrangements can be made.

Now the big hitters in ocean shipping, the World Shipping Council (WSC), the TT Club, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), and the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) have jointly released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to enable those affected to understand the new rules and take the appropriate action on a subject we covered in some detail over two years ago.

The amendments agreed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention are designed to enhance maritime safety and reduce the dangers to containerships, their crews, and all those involved in container transport throughout the supply chain. The FAQs have been developed by the industry coalition in response to numerous questions from shippers, carriers, forwarders, and terminal operators about the steps they must take to ensure successful implementation of the new regulations.

This initial FAQs document seeks to clarify how the SOLAS container weight verification requirements will function in various situations. It identifies commercial and operational arrangements that will have to be addressed, and it flags issues that must be dealt with by national governments. The FAQs are based on actual questions from affected stakeholders, and they will be expanded as new issues emerge. Stakeholders are invited to approach any of the collaborating organizations with additional questions that may come up. Contact details of ‘subject-matter experts’ from each of the organizations can be found at the end of the FAQs document.

Additionally there is a Guidance Document containing essential information for ship operators under the SOLAS VI regulations. In simple terms from July it will be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container onto a ship if the ship operator and marine terminal operator do not have a verified container gross mass, as specified under the new regulations. SOLAS has evolved steadily over the decades since its first inception in the wake of the SS Titanic disaster, continuously improving conditions for ships crews and others in the maritime environment.