16/05/2016 – SOLAS requirement for declared Verified Gross Mass ( VGM )

Further to our previous notice issued in March this year we felt it appropriate to remind and update our clients on the latest situation concerning the SOLAS requirement for Verified Gross Mass.

With there being only 6 weeks before the implementation of the change in legislation effective 1st July 2016 it is becoming paramount to identify from the following options available:

Method 1 – Capture of VGM by exporter at load point, enroute to port or at the actual port of loading

Method 2 – Calculated method authorised by MCA with each element of content and container being weighed individually.

It is clear that the majority of UK ports will offer a weighing solution for exporters who have such a requirement. We are still establishing the precise communication flow for the options and will circulate requirements and associated costs when known.

Meanwhile we would appreciate your advise on which method your organisation intends to take and in the case of method 1 the location you require the VGM to be established.

To assist our communication with the supply chains could we ask that you confirm your requirement by Friday 27th May.

Previous newsletter information below dated March 2016:

15/03/2016 – SOLAS requirement for declared Verified Gross Mass ( VGM )

Further to our notice issued in January this year we felt it appropriate to remind and update our clients on the latest situation concerning the change in SOLAS legislation effective from 1st July 2016.

The legislation calls for the declaration of the Verified Gross Mass to be made to the carrier by the shipper named on the bill of lading.

Metro has been consulting directly with the Maritime Coastguard Authority, several port operators and port community system providers. Whilst the legislation is set to commence, the practical solutions & processes are still evolving and costs for external weighing solutions are not fully established.

From the  UK, there are options for each Exporter to consider, we take this opportunity to outline the options as follows:

Method 1 – to weigh the loaded container at either

  • a privately owned weighbridge at load point
  • a public weigh bridge  enroute from load point to the port
  • at the port

Note that the port operators have not specified the technology they will use yet, and the private / public weighbridges will have to be calibrated & checked by trading standards authorities ( standard practice).  Some port operators ( for example Grangemouth) have declared they will not weigh containers, others ( such as Tilbury) are yet to qualify whether they will offer to weigh containers at port. Metro will update you as this position evolves.

Method 2 – to seek authority from the MCA demonstrating how the exporter weighs the component elements of items going into the container in detail as per the MCA website . MCA will issue a temporary authorisation code, if the elements are acceptable – and later audit the processes directly. The process to apply for accreditation can be found in the following link.

Provisional accreditation’s will not be given until April 2016, and the application has to be made by the prescribed shipper – even if the actual weighing of the elements of the consignment is done elsewhere, by subcontracted supply chain.

In establishing a preferred option, it is important to recognise that timelines & deadlines imposed by carriers to receive VGM data, may require consideration of alternative options on occasions . Metro will update you as more information becomes available.

Further afield around the globe, many countries are observing how the UK is setting up to meet the requirements. Whilst there are some countries that have questioned the timing and application of the legislation, the IMO are resolute that the requirement & timings stand. For those clients who have overseas loading origins, Metro will assist to establish what options are required, but we would point out that many counties are still establishing how they intend to oversee the legislation. It is also clear that in some countries and some ports, there will not be a port centric weighing option and the exporter will be expected to declare their VGM prior to the container being allowed onto port.

Metro will assist you should you have any specific enquiries. For any questions or further information please do not hesitate to contact your normal contact, or Tom Fernihough