SOLAS' verification of the gross mass of packed containers - amendment summary.
One of the biggest challenges facing the international container handling and shipping industry over recent years, is the change to the International Marine Organisation (IMO)'s SOLAS regulations.
In order to help clarify the specific nature of these changes, the World Shipping Council provides the following basic synopsis of the SOLAS requirements:
- Every packed container must have a verified container weight as a condition for loading aboard a vessel. There is no exception to this requirement.
- Under the SOLAS amendments, there are two approved methods for weighing: Method 1, weighing the fully loaded container or Method 2, weighing the contents of the container and adding those weights to the tare weight of the container.
- Estimating the weight is not permitted. The shipper has the responsibility for weighing the packed container or it's contents. Under either method, the weighing equipment used must meet national certification and calibration requirements.
- A carrier may rely on a shipper's signed weight verification to be accurate. The carrier does not need to be a 'verifier' of the shippers weight nor do they need to verify that the weight declared according to 'Method 2', has been completed by a certified method and approved by the competent authority of the jurisdiction in which the container was packed and sealed. It is important to note that for the shipper's weight verification to be compliant with the SOLAS requirement, it must be 'signed', meaning a specific person representing the shipper is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper.
- The lack of a signed shipper weight verification can be remedied by weighing the packed container at the port. If the marine terminal does not have the equipment to weigh the container and provide a verified weight, alternative means must be found to obtain a verified container weight.
- When a marine terminal receives a packed export container that does not have a signed shipper weight verification, there will need to be processes in place at the terminal for obtaining the weight verification for the vessel stow plan.
- If a packed container is weighed at the load port, that weight is to be used for the vessel stow planning.
- Vessel stow plans should use verified weights for all packed containers loaded board.
For more information on the IMO's requirement for container weight verification or to download the full text of applicable SOLAS regulations visit the World Shipping Council website.