SOLAS deadline looms amid confusion

News Story
- 30 Jun 2016 ( #776 ) - London, United Kingdom
1 min read
Don't be confused: regulations come into effect in July.<br />Image: ICHCA
Don't be confused: regulations come into effect in July.
Image: ICHCA
Cargo industry group ICHCA International is warning the freight industry about confusion surrounding the July 1 introduction of new weighing regulations.

ICHCA notes confusion around a perceived 'grace period', stemming from concerns expressed at the 96th session of the Maritime Safety Committee in May.

Following that meeting, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) issued a circular letter which said: "The Committee agreed that Administrations and port State control authorities should adopt a practical and pragmatic approach when verifying compliance with the requirements of SOLAS regulations VI/2.4 to VI/2.6, for a period of three months after 1 July 2016."

ICHCA warns that some in the industry "are of the mistaken belief that this means the SOLAS Amendment itself has been deferred for three months until October 1st, 2016".

ICHCA stresses that this is not true, and points out that the committee has called for a "practical and pragmatic" approach to be taken with reference to transhipment cargoes and the actual procedures for "documenting, communicating and sharing VGM information".

It is still a requirement to obtain the VGM for the packed container from July 1st, according to the warning.

The amendments to SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) require packed shipping containers to have a verified gross mass (VGM) before they can be loaded on a ship for export.

The cargo-handling body notes that "container safety is a shared responsibility, and all parties have an interest in improving the safety of ships, their crews and others throughout the containerised supply chain while reducing the risk of damages to cargo".

ICHCA has published an FAQ guide to the new regulations, which can be found here.
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