SOLAS Updates (Safety Of Life At Sea)

Starting July 1st, 2016, all containers will need to be weighed according to SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) guidelines before being loaded onto an ocean carrier. This will be effective as global law among all 162 SOLAS signatory countries. We at OIA Global will continue to update this page with SOLAS VGM news in the form of weekly summaries, OIA customer announcements and breaking news.

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To date, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) amendment has been successfully implemented with minimal setbacks worldwide. Since our latest OIA SOLAS Weekly Update, there have been no major SOLAS VGM-related updates to report on. Should any other major news regarding SOLAS VGM arise, or should there be a need to continue our SOLAS Weekly Updates, OIA Global will send our customers an email to notify you. To sign up for OIA Updates, please click here.
Summary: The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) implementation remains smooth after 12 days of operation. The biggest issue in the last week has come from the past week was in regards to the new, required data from half the shipments being received by one major forwarder in China. Wednesday, June 29th: One forwarder has reported that 50 percent of all exports being received in China have missing information in regards to the new VGM rules. The missing information ranges from not properly declaring the weight of the container, to the shipper not signing the proper…
Summary: Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) implementation on July 1st has been smooth overall, so far. India’s Directorate of Shipping issued a supplementary decree, allowing for VGM leniency in two different ways. The WSC, TT Club, ICHCA, and GSF issued a FAQ document to help support shippers and carriers in a smooth SOLAS VGM transition. Terminals and carriers continued to wrestle with the decision of how to weigh containers for VGM when they arrive via on-dock intermodal rail ramps. Port of New York and New Jersey expects no delays come the July 1st SOLAS VGM…
Summary: OCEMA stated that it will support on-terminal VGM container weights provided by US terminals, easing US exporters fear of terminal congestion and supply chain disruption, come the July 1st Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) implementation deadline. A France-based company announced that it is building the first single, comprehensive database for container tare weights. NAWE stated that it doesn’t agree that US terminals should be responsible for providing VGM container weighing services to shippers. Monday, June 20th: US exporters finally got the carrier support and uniformity they were looking for, regarding the use of current…
Summary: OCEMA issued a statement announcing that it is close to finalizing a common process that will enable US ports and terminals to meet Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) container weighing guidelines before the July 1st deadline in a smooth and standardized manner. FMC Chairman Mario Cordero questioned why current US container weighing methods couldn’t be used to meet SOLAS VGM requirements. Peel Ports stated that its Port of Liverpool and terminals at Greenock, Scotland, and Dublin will all offer VGM container weighing services. Four Mexican terminals operated by Hutchison Port Holdings all stated that…
Summary: Some of the terminals at Port New York and New Jersey issued their guidelines on the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rule. A trucking company that serves the Port of New York and New Jersey stated that it will offer VGM container weighing services to shippers, marking the first third-party VGM offering. The British Freight Association urged its members not to be complacent come the July 1st SOLAS VGM deadline. Many of Europe’s top terminals will offer VGM container weighing services, helping to smooth the implementation process come July 1st. Monday, June 6th: In…
Summary: Australia will heed the IMO’s request for “practical and pragmatic” approach to Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) enforcement in the first 3 months following the July 1st deadline. The FMC was urged to expedite their standard 45-day discussion review process in order to allow US ports and container lines the chance to come up with a unified strategy for complying with SOLAS VGM utilizing existing container weighing practices. The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association and Oakland Marine Terminal Operators Association stated that they will continue to provide container weights to carriers, but it…
Summary: The International Maritime Organization requested that all 162 Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) signatory countries approach Verified Gross Mass (VGM) enforcement with a “practical and pragmatic” approach during the first three months after the July 1st SOLAS VGM deadline. Yantian Port, Modern Terminals, and Port of St Petersburg all stated that they will offer VGM container weighing services to shippers in time for the July 1st deadline. Monday, May 23rd: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) urged its 162 signatory countries to take a “practical and pragmatic” approach to SOLAS VGM enforcement, in order to provide leeway to shippers,…
 Dear Valued Customer, Following up on our email to you last week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has officially issued a circular to its 162 signatory countries. The circular is intended to provide some leeway to shippers, marine terminals and container lines during the first three months after the July 1st, 2016 Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) deadline. To clarify, this extension is only intended to allow for the following two conditions that we outlined last week: Containers that are packed and loaded onto a ship before July 1st and are transshipped on or after…
Dear Valued Customer, We at OIA Global want to give you a quick but important update regarding the latest Safety Of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) container weighing rules, scheduled to go into effect worldwide on July 1, 2016. It has been reported that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) intends to publish a circular next week, requesting that its 162 signatory countries provide some leeway to shippers, marine terminals and containers lines during the first 3 months following the July 1st deadline. In addition to urging a “practical and pragmatic” approach to the enforcement of SOLAS VGM,…
Summary: India issued final Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) container weighing legislation. AgTC rejected OCEMA’s statement for a common tariff rule. Six US East and Gulf Coast ports and 19 ocean container lines stated that they want to create a common strategy approach to meet the SOLAS VGM container weighing guidelines. Concerns were raised regarding SOLAS VGM implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean. A survey found that most North American exporters are still unprepared for the July 1st, 2016 SOLAS VGM deadline. A Senate Republican requested that the US Federal Maritime Commission get more…
Summary: Israel issued its official stance on Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) guidelines. India revised its SOLAS VGM container weight acceptable tolerance. Port Newark Container Terminal stated that it will provide VGM container weighing services to shippers. APM Terminals increased its number of terminals providing VGM services, which now include Rotterdam and Constantsa. Container lines were urged to disclose VGM cut-off times, in order to avoid terminal congestion when SOLAS VGM rules are implemented on July 1st, 2016. The Virginia Port Authority will now accept containers without a VGM obtained before arriving at the terminal.…
(Click to view infographic) OIA Global has created this simple one-page infographic in order to better prepare our customers for the upcoming Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) deadline, set to take effect worldwide starting July 1st, 2016. As a general rule, if you do not provide a VGM for your container, it will not be loaded onto a carrier. Below, you will find an explanation of SOLAS VGM guidelines, as they stand at the time of this write-up. Feel free to print or share this graphic with whomever you think it might benefit, or download…
Summary: Japan reduced its SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) VGM (Verified Gross Mass) non-compliance fine and penalty structure. The majority of US Class I railroads stated that they will accept containers with or without a VGM, which leaves it up to marine terminals to decide what they will do with a container that arrives at their terminal without a VGM, after the SOLAS VGM July 1st deadline. DP World announced VGM container weighing service pricing for United Arab Emirates customers. The Maritime and Coast Guard Agency announced its application process to become a VGM Method 2 verified weigher in…
Summary: China issued a statement that included official SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) VGM (Verified Gross Mass) guidelines. The US Coastguard clarified their stance regarding alternative VGM container weighing methods, including the AgTC’s controversial “rational method”. APL stated that it will not accept “rational method” VGM data. SOLAS VGM input fees raise tensions between terminals, container lines and others in Brazil. The Federal Maritime Commission stated that it expects the US container shipping industry to be prepared for the July 1st SOLAS VGM deadline. VGM cut-off times may be set before existing cut-off times, according to a CargoSmart survey.…
 Dear Valued Customer, We at OIA Global want to give you a quick but important update on the latest Safety Of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) container weighing rules, scheduled to go into effect worldwide on July 1, 2016. Please be advised there have been two significant developments overnight from China and the US Coast Guard regarding SOLAS VGM.  What is SOLAS VGM, and how does it impact your business? Click here to download our easy-to-read SOLAS VGM infograhic. China: The Chinese Transport Ministry finally issued its SOLAS VGM guidelines to Chinese exporters. Click here for details: Download Regulations Policy According…
Summary: The Freight Transport Association (FTA) launched a consultancy service aimed at helping UK shippers get ready for SOLAS VGM guidelines being implemented July 1st, 2016. Hong Kong issued official SOLAS VGM guidelines, and joined the UK and Japan in setting an acceptable weight tolerance of plus or minus 5%. China remained silent on official VGM guidelines, and some terminals and shippers seemed to be unprepared for the SOLAS amendment. Congress was urged to send the Coast Guard back to the IMO for clarification on the AgTC’s “rational method” for the meeting of SOLAS VGM requirements for agricultural goods. DP…
Summary: US Congress shows little appetite to get involved with SOLAS affairs. India, Japan, and the UK set non-compliance fees and potential criminal charges. The discussion over who bears liability for VGM (Verified Gross Mass) non-compliance continues. Ports have started to take sides on whether or not they will offer VGM services. Potential increased cost to shippers if new SOLAS VGM requirements are implemented as is. What is SOLAS VGM, and how does it impact your business? Click here to download our easy-to-read SOLAS VGM infograhic. Monday, April 11th: SOLAS VGM requirements could result in increased cost to shippers, estimated at 10-15%.…
SOLAS Container Weight Verification Rules Become Effective July 1, 2016 The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a new requirement under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention that requires shippers to provide a verified weight for every packed container as a condition for vessel loading. These new industry requirements from the Maritime Safety Committee become effective worldwide on July 1, 2016. The shipper (named on the carrier’s bill of lading) may use one of two methods to determine the verified gross mass (VGM)of the packed container: The shipper may weigh or have a third party weigh the packed, sealed…
We at OIA Global want to give you a quick but important update on the latest Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Container Weight Verification rules, scheduled to go into effect worldwide on July 1, 2016.  Various announcements from carriers, government agencies and shippers’ associations are coming out on a daily basis, and we want to ensure that you are fully up to date.  Expect to hear from us periodically as we learn more. What is SOLAS VGM, and how does it impact your business? Click here to download our easy-to-read SOLAS VGM infograhic. Shipper’s Responsibility under SOLAS Under the SOLAS requirements,…
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