• ITVI.USA
    15,839.740
    -5.440
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.007
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.070
    0.480
    2.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,836.590
    -10.170
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,839.740
    -5.440
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.799
    -0.007
    -0.2%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.070
    0.480
    2.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,836.590
    -10.170
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
American ShipperIntermodalShippingTrade and Compliance

USCG outlines methods for VGM compliance

Scales currently used to comply with federal and state laws are acceptable for complying with the new International Maritime Organization container weight regulations due to go into effect July 1, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

   “Existing U.S. laws and regulations for providing verified container weights are equivalent to the requirements” in the new regulation under the Safety of Life at Sea convention that goes into effect on July 1, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday in a Marine Safety Information Bulletin.
   The Coast Guard said it has sent a letter to the International Maritime Organization “outlining its determination that its current regulatory regime provides for other entities within the container export chain to work in combination with the shipper to determine and verify container weights, and it provides ships’ masters with container weights in order to ensure ships are loaded and operated safely.”
   “Shippers, carriers, terminals, and maritime associations have outlined multiple acceptable methods for providing verified gross mass (VGM),” USCG said ti the bulletin. “A couple examples are: (1) the terminal weighs the container, and when duly authorized, verifies the VGM on behalf of the shipper, and (2) the shipper and carrier reach agreement whereby the shipper verifies the weight of the cargo, dunnage, and other securing material, and the container’s tare weight is provided and verified by the carrier.”
   The Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) noted that the South Carolina Ports Authority has supported the first of those examples — of allowing shippers to use container terminal scales to comply with the SOLAS verified gross mass (VGM) requirement.
   AgTC has also been pushing carriers to accept that second approach, resisting a best practice outlined by the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), a group of 19 carriers, requiring the shipper add the tare weight of the containers. On Wednesday OCEMA said that shippers could rely on the tare weight printed on the container or provided using a database generated by the carrier.
   AgTC said the Coast Guard bulletin “means that responsibility to submit VGM is NOT entirely on the shipper and the OCEMA/carrier ‘Best Practices- Method 1 and 2’ are NOT the only means of compliance. Most importantly, it frees individual ocean carriers to develop, in concert with their customers, means of compliance that make economic and operational sense for both. Today’s Coast Guard action permits, but does not require carriers to act independently in their own interests, however the AgTC strongly encourages them to do so, and remains available to facilitate such dialogue.”
   “For the purposes of determining the VGM of a container, any equipment currently being used to comply with Federal or State laws, including the Intermodal Safe Container Transportation Act and the container weight requirements in 29 CFR 1918.85(b), are acceptable for the purpose of complying with SOLAS,” the Coast Guard added. 
   Peter Friedmann, the executive director of the AgTC said he was pleased with the Coast Guard bulletin and equivalency letter to the IMO, feeling it will influence other countries and how they approach compliance with the VGM regulation.
   “It will restore sanity,” he said. The Coast Guard “has cleared the way for individual carriers to work with their customers, to save both the carriers and shippers millions of dollars of cost and burden, delay and disruption, software system rewriting, etc., through a rational means of SOLAS compliance.”
   John Butler, president and chief executive officer of the World Shipping Council, the primary trade association for the container shipping industry said “The Coast Guard’s statement last night about the SOLAS requirement that packed containers must have a verified gross mass before being loaded on a ship reiterates the fact that there are multiple methods for obtaining that total weight number. That is consistent with the Coast Guard’s prior statements and does not break any new ground.”
   “What is of interest is the Coast Guard’s statement that container weighing equipment being used today to meet other regulatory requirements is acceptable for SOLAS purposes. That statement may trigger some further consideration by terminal operators about their policies on providing SOLAS-compliant container weights using their existing scales,” he said.

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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