• ITVI.USA
    11,222.050
    -1,562.720
    -12.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    16.190
    0.100
    0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    11,205.090
    -1,561.380
    -12.2%
  • TLT.USA
    2.900
    0.080
    2.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.520
    0.160
    6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    1.860
    0.020
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.310
    0.140
    12%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.260
    0.100
    4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.260
    0.040
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.730
    0.150
    5.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
    -17.000
    -14.2%
  • ITVI.USA
    11,222.050
    -1,562.720
    -12.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    16.190
    0.100
    0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    11,205.090
    -1,561.380
    -12.2%
  • TLT.USA
    2.900
    0.080
    2.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.520
    0.160
    6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    1.860
    0.020
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.310
    0.140
    12%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.260
    0.100
    4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.260
    0.040
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.730
    0.150
    5.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
    -17.000
    -14.2%
American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

NEWS FLASH: OCEMA, six ports collaborate on VGM

The 19 ocean carrier members of the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association are collaborating with six major East and Gulf coast ports to establish a common streamlined “Terminal Weighing Approach.”

   The 19 ocean carrier members of the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), in conjunction with six major East and Gulf coast port authorities, said Thursday they have established a plan to use port scales to provide the verified gross mass of containers that shippers will be required to provide to carriers before their cargo is loaded on ships as of July 1.
   The port authorities include the South Carolina Ports Authority, the Georgia Ports Authority, the North Carolina State Ports Authority, the Port of Houston Authority, the Port of Virginia and the Massachusetts Port Authority.
   Marine terminals would weigh a container on certified terminal scales, pursuant to the equivalency declared by the U.S. Coast Guard. This weight could then be used to fulfill the U.S. exporter’s requirement to provide the container weight, if the exporter desires.
   OCEMA administrator Stacey Normington said that details regarding exactly how the program would work at each terminal still need to be discussed and that the carriers and port authorities filed an agreement with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Thursday so those discussions could take place.
   In addition, OCEMA is initiating similar discussions with West Coast terminals through its agreement with them called the Pacific Ports Operational Improvement Agreement, Normington said.
   OCEMA has also been and will be reaching out to other ports as well, Normington added.
   “OCEMA’s members greatly appreciate the leadership shown by the six operating ports that are joining with us in this agreement. With the issuance of the U.S. Coast Guard’s recent Maritime Safety Information Bulletin’s equivalency provisions, this represents an unprecedented effort by major ports and carriers to develop a common VGM framework that will simplify procedures for shippers, carriers, and terminals and promote terminal fluidity,” said Frank Grossi, chairman of OCEMA and executive vice president, COSCO Container Lines America, Inc.
  At the Virginia Maritime Association’s annual conference in Norfolk, Va., last week, R. Murray Bishop, STIHL Inc.’s export and logistics manager, urged ports to come together on a national, or at least East Coast, standard for how marine terminals handle container weight verification.
   Ashley Craig, a trade attorney with Venable LLP who has provided counsel to some freight consolidators and carriers, suggested port authorities and marine terminal operators might be able to achieve some sort of uniformity by going through the FMCand seeking anti-trust immunity to discuss a common implementation plan.
   Meanwhile, the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) said that implementation of new container weight verification rules was discussed at this week’s meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
   GSF, whose members include the National Industrial Transportation League in the U.S., said as the July 1 deadline approaches for the implementation of the new rules, international companies are finding it challenging to establish the requirements for providing the VGM for containers under what the IMO calls “Method 2.”
   The IMO says the weight of the container can be determined by either:
* Method 1, weighing the packed container; or
* Method 2, “weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.”
   GSF noted “Using ‘Method 2’, shippers are permitted to calculate the gross mass of the items and packaging rather than weighing them individually provided they are using an audit system authorised by the national government of the country in which they are operating, thus saving time and money.
   “However, as the deadline approaches for the implementation of the new rules, international companies are finding it challenging to establish the requirements for ‘Method 2’. In addition, where guidance is available, some countries are using slightly different approaches,said GSF.
   It urged members of the IMO to use international standards as far as possible for their “Method 2” audit authorization process, such as ISO 9001 or similar quality management standards. GSF said this will enable businesses to produce accurate container weight information with minimal impact on trade.
   In the longer term, GSF encouraged member states to consider mutual recognition of each other’s “Method 2” authorization, similar in principle to bilateral arrangements between countries on customs issues.
   Meanwhile, the ocean shipping portal INTTRA said it will provide a means for Germany’s Hamburg Süd to receive VGM submissions from shippers. Hamburg Süd was a founding member of INTTRA’s eVGM Initiative, and Paul Wenger, global head of customer order management at the carrier said “INTTRA eVGM Service allows an easy integration for carriers, helping to minimize disruption.” INTTRA announced a similar deal with MSC in March.

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Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.
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