As of July 1, only containers with a verified gross mass will be cleared to be loaded onto a ship under the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) amendment. Shippers hoping that the implementation of the ruling will be delayed or deferred are whistling in the dark, say industry analysts.
But one ray of light surfaced yesterday when the IMO’s Marine Safety Committee announced that there will be a “practical and pragmatic approach” to enforcement for the first three months.
Concerns were noted with regards to the application of the requirements to a container which was loaded before July 1st and then transshipped,” said The Committee. It also noted delegations’ comments that, in the first few months, “some leeway” should be provided in order for any problems resulting from software updates, required for the electronic collection and transmittal of verified gross mass data, to be rectified without causing delays to containers being loaded.
Such an approach may help ensure that containers that are loaded before the first day of July – but transhipped on or after that date – reach their final port of discharge without a verified gross mass and it would provide flexibility, for three months immediately after July 1st, to all the stakeholders in containerized transport to refine, if necessary, procedures (e.g. updated software) for documenting, communicating and sharing electronic verified gross mass data.
Notwithstanding the above, the Committee emphasized that the stability and safe operation of ships, including the safe packing, handling and transport of containers, is not limited to the provision and use of VGM information and is also covered by a number of SOLAS regulations.
By Logistics Management | May 25, 2016 | Patrick Burnson