• ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
American Shipper

OCEMA clarifies VGM tare weight liability issue

The ocean carrier group told U.S. exporters they will issue a tariff clearly stating that shippers would have no liability from inaccurate carrier-provided tare weight to calculate VGM.

   A group of 19 ocean carriers operating in U.S. trades said Thursday they are issuing a tariff rule confirming that shippers would have no liability for damages resulting from inaccurate carrier-provided container tare weight to calculate the verified gross mass (VGM).
   The notice from the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) comes amid confusion over exporters’ role in verifying the tare weight of containers to comply with a new rule this summer.
   Submission of verified container weights will become a requirement for shippers globally as of July 1, when the VGM amendment to the existing Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention goes into effect. The VGM amendment mandates that shippers verify the weights of their containers to carriers prior to loading on a vessel.
   One of the methods for verifying container weights is to calculate the total weight of cargo, packaging and dunnage, before adding that to the tare weight of the container itself. Exporter groups have derided this method, arguing that it essentially requires them to provide weight verification of equipment they neither own nor maintain. That, they said, would expose them to liability that many companies simply wouldn’t be able to accept, especially since the final step in the VGM process is a signature from an authorized person from the shipper or a shipper’s representative.
   Carriers have emphasized in recent weeks that the VGM rule must be adhered to, that shippers and consolidators must provide the data to carriers before a stipulated VGM cutoff date either through the calculation method, or by physically weighing laden containers and then submitted that data via email, online portals or EDI.
   The VGM data is necessary for terminal operators and vessel operators to properly plan stowage of ships. Containers without VGM will be denied loading, though various U.S. ports and terminals in recent weeks have sought to provide shippers with ways to collect VGM data for boxes that arrive at terminals without the VGM.
   In March, OCEMA issued a set of best practices for VGM submission to carriers.
   “This issue has been cited by some shippers as the primary reason they cannot comply with VGM requirements,” OCEMA Executive Director Jeff Lawrence said. “The OCEMA Tariff is intended to fully and address shippers concerns.”
   Though the tariff is intended to address exporter concerns about liability associated with the verification of container tare weights, U.S. export groups have also called the new rule an unnecessary procedural step. They argue that exporters already provide container weight information sufficient to allow terminals and vessel operators to plan stowage.
   The VGM amendment, which was ratified in late 2014 by International Maritime Organization member nations, goes into effect globally July 1. The rule gives individual nations flexibility in terms of enforcement and compliance methods.
   Federal Maritime Commissioner William P. Doyle said he appreciated “the ocean carriers taking the very important step of relieving shippers of liability for inaccuracies in the tare weight of ocean containers.”
   The OCEMA tariff rule “would confirm that shippers would have no liability for damages resulting from inaccurate carrier-provided tare weight to calculate VGM. Ocean carriers who are not members of OCEMA could individually adopt the same type of tariff rule.”

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