NO SOLACE IN SOLAS

Ship Crane Lifting Cntr

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations go into effect on July 1, 2016.  These are regulations enacted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the behest of the World Shipping Council (WSC) which require shippers to certify the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a container.  The VGM is the combined weight of the cargo, dunnage and container. And, by “certify,” the shipper is required to provide a signed certification verifying the accuracy of the weight calculation.  Furthermore, the signed party must be a specific, named individual representing the shipper and take responsibility for the accuracy of the weight.

 

US shippers currently provide both their net and gross cargo weights to the ocean carrier. However, they are reluctant to provide the VGM, which includes the weight of the container, as they neither own nor maintain this equipment. They contend providing the VGM will require them to “certify” a weight outside of their purview. What liability is the individual as well as the shipper accepting by this certification?  Another concern of the US shipper is cost.  The provision of a VGM by the the shipper to the ocean carrier will require new EDI transaction sets or manual processes for which there are increased costs to provide.

 

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) recently developed their “best practices” for compliance with SOLAS. They are sticking to the letter of the SOLAS regulations. The ocean carrier is under no obligation to verify or provide the VGM.  The shipper must provide the VGM. OCEMA recommends shipper can get the weight of the container from side of the container itself or from the ocean carrier’s website and incorporate that number with their gross cargo weight to produce the VGM.  According to OCEMA, should the VGM be incorrect due to the weight of the container, the ocean carrier will not hold the shipper responsible.  How can they make that assertion? The ocean carrier collects the information but has no enforcement authority nor are they required to confirm the accuracy of the VGM provided.  So, how can they proclaim the shipper will not be held responsible?

 

No one should be surprised by OCEMA’s decision. After all, OCEMA and WSC (the primary author of SOLAS) are both comprised of a near-identical, long list of ocean carriers.  So, of course, they are going to absolve themselves of any responsibility in this process. It seems they prefer to reinvent the wheel rather than to employ common sense and utilize systems already in place.  Again, is anyone really surprised???

 

Oh, and need we mention, the impetus behind SOLAS was to deal with a small group of known commodities that consistently under-declare cargo weights. But, heck, let’s disrupt the entire industry.

NAME THAT PART

Do you know what this part is?  It is something used in intermodal or truck transportation.  Play “Name That Part” by liking us on Facebook.  Click here to be directed to our Facebook page and place your guess.  Good luck!  Name that Part Apr 2016

A PLATOON OF TRUCKS

Freightliner’s parent company, Daimler, demonstrated the platooning of autonomous trucks on Germany’s autobahn last month.  The three trucks were linked with specialized software which enables them travel together yet allows the movement of traffic in and out of the platoon…all without driver intervention on two of the three trucks.  Watch the video above.

WELCOME TO SUMMER CALIFORNIA

California’s “summer blend” of fuel is hitting the gas stations and your wallet.  The switch to the more ecologically friendly fuel was expected to increase prices by $0.30 per gallon.  Wish that was true.  It turned out to be more like a $1.00 per gallon, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping there.Fuel Prices March 2016

IS BEING FIRST ALWAYS BEST?

West Coast Dockworkers Hold Day-Long Work Stoppage To Protest Iraq WarSSA’s terminal in Oakland was shut down this past Monday due to a difference in contract interpretation.  SSA and ILWU Local 10 have had a long standing agreement for the crane operators to show up 20 minutes before the start of the shift (for which they are paid one hour) to perform the necessary safety checks on equipment. This early start enables the cranes to be up and running when the rest of the longshoremen and the drivers show up and all can hit the ground running.  

 

The ILWU argues this early start is not part of the current contract nor was it discussed with the union.  Instead of arriving 20 minutes early on Monday, the crane operators arrived at the traditional start time. In response, SSA sent them home, which resulted in the ire of all the longshoremen who walked off in sympathy, thereby, shutting down the terminal for the day.

 

The net result is this issue will be the first dispute to be reviewed and decided upon by the three-person arbitration panel put in place during last year’s ILWU/PMA contract negotiation.  A decision on the issue/ interpretation is due early next week.

FUN FACT

A “Women’s History Month” inspired Fun Fact:  Marilyn Reece was the first woman to be registered in California as a civil engineer, and, in 1964, she designed the 405 / 10 freeway interchange.  Ms. Reece’s concept was to keep traffic gracefully moving at high speeds.  Her solution was long, sweeping curves.  Her vision was, and remains, a success.  This intersection has been described as, “…a work of art, both as a pattern on the map, as a monument against the sky, and as a kinetic experience as one sweeps through it.”Marilyn Reece 002