1st July 2016 a new SOLAS regulation will come into force, that will have significant operation as well as commercial impact:

A requirement for shipper to verify and provide the container’s gross verified weight to the carrier and terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship.

The purpose of the SOLAS amendments is to obtain an accurate gross weight of packed containers that are moved through the supply chain prior to loading aboard the ship.

The responsibility for proving the Verified Gross Weight lies with the shipper.

Verified container gross weights are to be used by the terminal operator and the vessel operator in ship stowage planning.

If a packed container is received at a port facility for export without a verified gross weight, it shall not be loaded on a vessel until a verified gross weight is obtained.

There are two methods for obtaining the verified gross weight:

  1. Shipper, or third party, may weigh the packed and sealed container, using scale, weighbridge, lifting equipment or other devices, meeting the applicable national accuracy standards.
  2. Shipper, or third party, may weigh all packages and cargo items, including packing and securing, and add the container tare.

Estimating the weight of a container’s contents is not permitted.

The party packing the container cannot use the weight somebody else has provided, except in one specific set of defined circumstances where the cargo has been previously weighed and that weight is clearly and permanently marked on the surface of the goods.

Obviously method no. 2 is inappropriate and impractical for certain types of cargo items (scrap metal, flexitanks, unbagged grain and other cargo in bulk) that do not easily lend themselves to individual weighing of the items to be packed in the container. For such cargo, method no. 1 must be used.

The shipper named on the carrier Bill of Lading is the party responsible for providing Verified Gross Weight.

The Verified Gross Weight must be communicated to carrier and terminal in a way that clearly highlight that the gross mass provided is the Verified Gross Weight, and must be “signed” by a person duly authorised by the shipper.

Carrier will provide shipper with cut-off times within which, the carrier must receive the required Verified Gross Weight from shipper, for ship stowage planning.

Please contact your local Bring Air & Sea office for further details.