Container Weight Regulations – Coming to a sea freight port near you in July 2016.
4 January 2016
Rob Lewis, Director at Meachers Global Logistics, the GFG’s UK member, offers us the latest findings regarding the incoming SOLAS regulations…
“… Also might be worth reminding members that SOLAS VI REGULATION 2 is being amended and comes in to force on 1st July 2016 (which is just around the corner!)
This relates to Safety of Life at Sea, and is an International Convention, so all members will have to comply.
The regulation relates to Verified Container Weights, and information around the World still seems very sketchy with many people not realising that this is happening.
If a Shipping Line has not been provided with a Verified Container Weight then legally the cannot load the container onto the vessel.
As stated this is an International Convention but will be implemented and policed within individual Countries, so how the regulations are applied and governed may vary slightly from country to country as will the penalties.
The Verified Container Weight is not the same as the Gross Weight of the cargo. The verified weight must include cargo weight, dunnage, straps and chocks and any other packing materials plus the tare weight of the container as stated on the container plate. So you cannot use a standard weight for a 20ft container or 40ft container, you need to record the actual plated weight.
The discussions are still ongoing as to what variances will be allowed. There is talk of 1% tolerance up or down, the UK authorities have put forward 5% tolerance. The feeling is that internationally they will settle on 2 or 3%, which does not give much margin for error, given that wood packaging can dry out, and if a container has undergone repair to the floor who is to say that the plated weight is correct?
I have been advised that the named Shipper on the Bill of Lading will be the party held to account for providing the Verified Container Weight. So any of our members who show themselves as the Shipper on a Master Bill of Lading would find themselves directly in the firing line.Even if they are not the named Shipper on the B/L if they have undertaken or arranged for the loading of cargo into a container then then would be responsible for providing the Certified Container Weight.
I cannot speak for how the rest of the World is going to manage and police this Regulation. but in the UK anyone who is loading containers can apply to become a Verified Loader, and will have to demonstrate that they have processes in place to verify the weight of cargo, packaging/dunnage and container tare. So a Shipper who does not load their own cargo into containers still needs to be registered if they are the named Shipper on the Bill of Lading and their process would have to indicate that they are using Verified Loaders, so the information passed down the supply chain is done on the “handshake principle” from one Verified Party to Another.
Meachers Global Logistics
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Article by: R Marchant, GFG Group Administrator, 4 January 2016
Original Article from November 2015:
The GFG’s UK member, Meachers Global Logistics, opened the door to news of a freight regulation which will be a global requirement during 2016…
Rob Lewis, Director at Meachers Global Logistics in Southampton, UK, reported on the latest developments within the freight industry.
“Attached is a document from the Marine and Coastguard Agency in the UK. (click here to access)
This document although issued in the UK relates to a change in the SAFETY OF LIFE AT SEAS REGULATIONS, these regulations are International.
Therefore, what is detailed in the attached document will come into effect from the 1st July 2016 globally.
Each Country will no doubt have different ways of implementing and policing the new regulations, but the end result should be the same, if the Shipping Line/port do not have a verified weight for a container then it cannot be loaded onto a vessel.
In the UK it will be legal requirement, other countries may take a different approach but the end result should be the same, if there is not a verified weight then containers must not be loaded.
This has been very poorly “advertised” in the UK, but my understanding is that elsewhere around the globe it has an even lower profile.
Can I suggest that the attached document is circulated to highlight what is highlights what this is all about, but suggest that the GFG members make some enquiries about how this is going to be implemented in their own countries. July 2016 is not far away, and if other countries are going down the same route as the UK with companies having to become verified load sites or go via weighbridges on the way to the port then now is the time to start taking action.
Accordingly the GFG’s Group Administrator circulated the information amongst the membership and, sure enough, there were similar regulations reported in other countries.
For the USA, the GFG’s Georgia import member, Lee Hardeman, offered the following information links:
The following link has links to the full text of the SOLAS regs & implementing guidelines and can be found at
Feel free to pass these on if you think they would be beneficial.
For the Canadian perspective, Karl Heinz-Legler offered the GFG members not only the Candaian ruling but also his own CIFFA expertise:
Thanks for the SOLA Container VGM communication. Yes – time is running slowly out as far preparedness for the July 2016 implementation date is concerned.
Have enclosed an article for you (ok to distribute – click here to access) that was published in the Fall Edition off the CIFFA Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association Magazine that came out this week on the subject.
Here is a short summary of the situation as seen from Canada in my capacity as Chair of the SOLAS Committee of the Canadian Association.
Great Britain is at this point the only country that has come up with clear implementation guidelines ( MCA – MGN 534 ( M & F ) ) – Method 1 & 2
Other countries seem not to be following suit as this particular process is considered to be to an additional administrative burden that is cumbersome to implement and control.
The US Administration ( Code of Federal Regulation June 2015 Version, Part 1918 – Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring, Section H – Handling Cargo ) is still insisting on container weighing at the Port / Terminal. ( Method 1 only )
Discussion for a European approach are still ongoing. Ocean Carriers are scrambling at this point to find in addition to an universal corporate approach implementation guidelines that are suitable to and reflect the prevailing local circumstances of the respective country of lading.
That`s it for today – Will keep you posted of any interesting developments as they pop up.
Enjoy the weekend,
General Manager, Rutherford Global Logistics,