The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rule requiring shippers worldwide to certify the weight of the cargo and container is set to go into effect on July 1, 2016. Meanwhile, there are more questions than answers regarding its implementation and enforcement.
Will the implementation be postponed by a year? Can shippers use an average container weight provided by the ocean carrier for each container size to calculate the Verified Gross Mass (VGM)? Will the IMO accept two certifications, one from the shipper for the cargo and second from the ocean carrier for the container? Will a variance be allowed, and if so, how much? Will the rule require yet another, and different, cut off for information and cargo? Will that cut off vary by ocean carrier? How will the ocean carriers receive the weight information? Will a terminal operator deny ingating a container without a certified weight already on file? Will terminal operators provide the service of weighing containers? What are the penalties for non-compliance or misinformation?
With only four months until worldwide implementation, we are running out of time to get answers to these and the other myriad questions.