Verified Gross Mass Industry FAQs
The amendments to this regulation have substantial impact on operational practices between the parties in the international supply chain involved in the movement of containers by sea. While the convention relates to the safety of ships at sea, it should be recognized that shore based activities relating to the presentation of cargo are fundamental to safe outcomes at sea.
These FAQs relate to new mandatory rules, effective from 1 July 2016, concerning the requirement for shippers to verify the gross mass of a container carrying cargo. Without a verified gross mass the packed container shall not be loaded aboard ship. The rules prescribe two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container:
Method 1, upon the conclusion of packing and sealing a container, the shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weigh, 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 of the container’s contents.
In respect of both Method 1 and 2, the weighing equipment used must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the State in which the equipment is being used
This document should be considered as dynamic; it is not intended to be comprehensive and other questions are likely to be raised in the future. Stakeholders are encouraged to discuss among their counter-parties how compliance will be achieved, particularly in relation to matters of a commercial nature.
These SOLAS amendments were adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in November 2014 and become mandatory on 1 July 2016. SOLAS itself has international legal status so there need not be any further implementing legislation for States that are party to the Convention. It should be recognized that national rules and regulations may exist and stakeholders should engage with the relevant Competent Authorities to obtain clarification on such national procedures.
All stakeholders have an incentive to encourage compliance in order to avoid disruptions in the supply chain. This document is part of a broad industry communication program to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the SOLAS amendments and take appropriate action to engage with counter-parties in order to be prepared to comply on 1 July 2016.