New FAQ Deciphers Container Weight Regulations

SOLAS amendments regarding container weight verification will go into effect on July 1, 2016. These mandatory regulations, requiring shippers to verify the gross mass of packed containers, have far-reaching effects for both carrier and terminal operations; without a verified gross mass, a container cannot be loaded onto a ship.

In response to questions raised by various stakeholders in the supply chain, a thorough FAQ has been prepared by a coalition of industry experts led by the World Shipping Council (WSC), insurer TT Club, the International Container Handling and Coordination Association (ICHCA), and the Global Shippers Forum (GSF).

The FAQ covers the methods by which shippers can obtain the verified gross mass of a container, the responsibilities of various parties, potential issues regarding accuracy and enforcement, and formats for communicating the verified gross mass between the parties.

Real-time communication and visibility will be critical to ensure that the new regulations are implemented efficiently, with minimal disruption to the supply chain.

As stated in the FAQ, several existing EDI messages have been amended, and the Ship Planning Message Design Group (SMDG) has developed a new EDI message called ‘VERMAS’ specifically to manage the transmission of verified gross mass data. More information on the VERMAS is available from the SMDG here.

The complete container weight FAQ is available for download from the World Shipping Council.

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