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SOLAS has begun

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PortBaltOn July 1, the new Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) rules went into effect. Passed by the International Maritime Organization, SOLAS requires every packed export container to have a verified weight before being loaded onto a ship to be used by the port and the carrier to create a vessel load plan.

Developed in response to a number of accidents and poor information provided in the past, the requirement place responsibility on the Shipper (the party named on the ocean bill of lading or sea waybill) to provide the verified gross mass (VGM) required for shipments after July 1.

Containers without this information will not be loaded (missed bookings) and may be subject to additional costs, fees and penalties.

While there are two acceptable methods for calculating container weight – Method 1: weigh the entire packed container, and Method 2: calculate the weight of the container based on the separate components – US ports have elected to utilize Method 1, weighing all packed containers at the port and providing EDI 322 messages for all export loads to include the VGM qualifier.

As additional support, Bentley World Packaging will provide an email to the Shipper of Record with the following information:

  • Booking number __________________
  • Container number _________________
  • Seal number _____________
  • Cargo gross weight _____________#
  • Dunnage / material weight in container ____________#
  • Tare weight of container ______________#

The Shipper of Records is ultimately responsible to make sure this information is included on the appropriate documents.

Currently, a lot of confusion exists as different entities, organizations and countries attempt to comply with the new regulations. Today, there is no universal weight allowance in place for container weight variations from stated VGM.

We expect over time that we will see these methods begin to standardize and become a regular part of international shipping.

If you have questions, or want more information on how these new regulations may affect you, please reach out to your local Bentley representative or contact.

Additional information can also be found here.