First Portable scale to help shippers with SOLAS rule

A New Zealand container weighing solution company Bison has launched what it claims is the world’s first system for weighing containers on trailer chassis, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

A relatively small, portable scale are designed to enable shippers to weigh a container atop a chassis,  costs about 13,000 euros ($14,400) in Europe. The launch follows the release in May 2015 of Bison’s C-Jacks — a small car-jack-like device that can weigh a container sitting on the ground, and was conceived to meet the demands of the the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, convention.

SOLAS, under which shippers must report the weight, otherwise known as the verified gross mass, of all goods shipped by sea prior to loading on the vessel is still an issue with some customers , adding extra cost and complexity to container shipping operations.

C-Legs are compatible with shipping containers of all types and sizes up to 35,000kg and work with both air and spring suspension chassis.

C-Legs is a broadly similar product to C-Jacks, but reaches higher in the air, to the top of a chassis. The new scale has a leg for each corner of the container that is raised with car-jack-like devices to measure the weight of the container. Each leg is fitted with an electronic scale and the weight from each is then transmitted to a smartphone application that combines them into a single weight for the whole container.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.

Indian Shippers Protest SOLAS VGM Fees

Even though  supply chains continued to flow mostly without interruption after the SOLAS VGM rule took effect July 1st, shipper frustration with related fees continues to grow.

Gateway Terminals India (GTI), or APM Terminals Mumbai, has come under fire from the Directorate General of Shipping for levying verified gross mass processing fees on containers that arrive with a shipper-supplied VGM, as the Journal of Commerce reports.

The action followed trade and shipper complaints that shippers were being charged for VGM verifications when terminal operators had not been authorized by the directorate to offer on-site container weighing services at a fee.

The directorate agreed that there was no requirement for “ports/terminals to weigh containers to verify the gross mass of the container.” The Safety of Life at Sea rule was aimed at safety and should not be used by intermediaries in the supply chain to burden Indian exporters with additional costs and hurt their competitiveness, the directorate said.

Earlier GTI said these charges are levied only on containers that are found to have discrepancies between the shipper-supplied VGM and actual weight obtained at the terminal in excess of the 1,000-kilogram (2,204-pound) tolerance threshold mandated by the Indian government.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.

Global Terminal Joins Other NY Ports in Providing Weights for SOLAS Compliance

Global Terminal (also known as GCT Bayonne) is following the same process as other NYC terminals, weighing export containers at ingate and sending the VGM to the carriers, according to port information.

Steamship lines have agreed to use the container weight provided by terminals at the ports as the Verified Gross Mass (VGM),  required to be provided under the International Maritime Organization SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulation effective July 1st.

All six (6) terminals in the Port of New York / New Jersey will be able to supply VGM to the carriers on the July 1st deadline.   If the VGM is not already on record with the carrier at the time containers arrive at the port, the terminals will send an EDI message with the VGM to the carrier. This information shall be in the carrier system within a short transmission time,  such as 90 minutes.  No additional action will be required of the shipper.  Many terminals have announced that they will not be charging to supply the VGM to the carriers.  The New York Container Terminal Tariff allows for a charge up to $10 for this service.  Currently, all terminals in the US will receive a container even if the VGM is not on record with the carrier. NO VGM – NO GATE is not applicable.

The terminals at the Port of NY/NJ are NOT equipped to provide weight for intermodal containers arriving by rail.   The railroads will not be weighing containers as they do not consider the SOLAS regulations to be their issue.  VGM must be supplied directly to the carriers or shipper will face additional costs for manual scale weighing at the port.  Many carriers are requiring VGM to be submitted within a specific time window of being gated in to the terminal.   J\

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), representing 19 ocean carriers,  issued a revised Best Practices for the acceptance and transmission of the VGM on June 28th which can be found at the OCEMA website:

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.

Charter Container Line Rule: Solas- VGM

By the shipper signing the Solas Verified Gross Mass Certificate, the shipper (USPPI) acknowledge and agree that RCL/ Charter Container Line will rely on the accuracy of the VGM provided herin and shall be entitled to tender. Counter-sign or endorse this certificate as RCL’S -Charter Container Lines’s own VGM to subcontractors, including the vessel operator. You (USPPI) agree that you (USPPI) shall be responsible for any inaccuracies in the VGM declared herein, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless RCL- Charter Container Line from any claims, losses, penalties, and or costs from such inaccurate VGM.

No SOLAS Disruption or Delays Expected at Port of NY/NJ

No disruption or delays are expected at the Port of New York and New Jersey on Friday, July 1 when SOLAS amendment will come into force on July 1st, 2016, as port officials said this Wednesday at a panel on SOLAS organized by the New York New Jersey Foreign Freight Forwarders and Brokers Association.

On a typical day, hundreds of containers headed for export enter through the gates, and the port has struggled with bouts of congestion for years. However, Beth Rooney, assistant director in the port department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has assured  the business should be as usual.

Rooney’s comment came as industry executives quizzed panelists on a host of detailed SOLAS issues, including the potential for penalties, how the weight of gas in the truck would be factored into the VGM estimate when the entire truck is weighed, and what is the cut off time by which a VGM needs to be supplied to the container line.

The amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea convention, approved by the IMO in 2014, is aimed at cracking down on misdeclared container weights, which have contributed to maritime accidents.

The New York-New Jersey terminals will use readings from pre-existing weight processes done to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules to create the needed VGM. The U.S. Coast Guard in late May made a declaration of equivalency, giving terminals the go-ahead to use existing processes to meet the new rule .

In addition, if a container comes in with a VGM and it is then weighed by the terminal and the two weights differ, the carrier would use the terminal’s weight. Any containers  that have arrived to the terminal before the SOLAS rule was in effect would be also weighed.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.


SOLAS Solution for Rail Cargo Still in Progress

In accordance with the SOLAS ruling effective July 1, 2016 ,every container loaded on a seafaring vessel must be accompanied by documentation of its VGM, according to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, convention.

At this moment, decision will be up to the individual container lines and could very well vary carrier by carrier. Many marine terminals and ports now say they will use pre-existing weighing processes to produce the needed verified gross mass, or VGM, declaration for containers. But it’s unclear how boxes moving to the port via on-dock intermodal rail ramps will be weighed,  the Journal of Commerce reports.

In its updated best practices guidelines, a group representing the 19 largest container lines acknowledged that some terminal operators do not have the scales or processes to obtain container weights for cargo arriving by on-dock rail. The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association said shippers will be relegated to providing the container weight for that cargo themselves — unless their carriers directs otherwise.

While terminal operators and operating ports in the U.S. are already required to weigh container arriving at their gates by truck in order to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, that process for cargo arriving by rail is not the same.

According to OCEMA’s announcement itself, shippers may be given more detailed instructions on how to obtain and transmit VGM for cargo that arrives at a terminal via on-dock rail.

Moreover, according to OCEMA member Maersk Line, OCEMA carriers are working with the group to identify a more permanent approach as streamlined as the best practices for in-gated cargo.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.

SC Ports Authority’s SOLAS Approach at Port of Charleston

The South Carolina Ports Authority,  filed a rule in its Marine Terminal Operating Schedule (MTOS) outlining its process for adherence to the IMO regulations regarding Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Regulation VI/2, as the American Journal of Transportation reports.

This approach is consistent with the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Information Safety Bulletin dated April 28, 2016 on this topic, which outlined that existing procedures to comply with U.S. terminal safety regulations could be used to comply with this important regulation. This provision allows the Port of Charleston to provide VGM data directly to ocean carriers via EDI 322 messages as today and provides that shippers using the Port of Charleston authorize this practice, unless they make other arrangements with their ocean carrier.

All export containers will be weighed on calibrated and certified truck scales upon arrival at the Port of Charleston.The weight of the truck tractor, chassis,and other ancillary equipment such as gen sets will be subtracted from the gross weight, yielding the gross weight of the container and cargo. This gross weight will be provided to the respective ocean carrier as the VGM via EDI 322 message,and will be made available to the stevedores stowing cargo in the port on a real time basis, so that ships can be efficiently and safely stowed. Shippers can also provide their separately developed VGM to the ocean carrier on mutual arrangement with that ocean carrier.

The effective date of this provision is July 1st, 2016. This practice also comports with the IMO Maritime Safety Committee Circular 1475 Implementation Guidelines at Paragraph 9.2 which states that the terminal derived VGM will be used in the event there is a conflict with a shipper provided VGM.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900


Database of Container Tare Weights to Help Shippers Meet SOLAS Rule

The Bureau International des Containers (BIC), which is a France-based international non-profit organization,  has created a database containing the tare weights of containers globally in order to help shippers comply with the upcoming SOLAS amendment, which is due to come into force on July 1, 2016.

The Journal of Commerce reports the database will enable shippers, forwarders and others to search for a container’s weight using its identification number.

While some shipping lines are providing tare weights, the BIC project offers the prospect of the first single, comprehensive source for container tare weights. The tare weight of containers can be used to calculate the verified gross method, known as Method 2 under the International Maritime Organization rule.

The database, called the Technical Characteristics Database, should be ready in about 10 days, said Bertrand Geoffray, secretary general of the BIC.

The database will be free for the first year, but that will later be evaluated, adding that the database will always be a nonprofit, non-commercial venture, BIC said.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900.

Liverpool SOLAS Service Introduces Weighing to Most UK Ports

The port of Liverpool will offer container weighing services to help its customers comply with a new international regulation that comes into effect on July 1st, according to the Journal of Commerce.

The announcement by Peel Ports, Liverpool’s owner, has extended weighing services across almost the entire U.K. waterfront in response to an amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, convention requiring the weight of all export containers to be verified before being loaded onto a ship. The rule was passed in an effort to prevent maritime accidents in which mis-declared or overweight containers play a role.

Peel Ports said its container terminals at Greenock, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland’s largest port, will also be able to weigh containers prior to loading.

Liverpool is installing dynamic axle weighbridges at terminal truck gates linked with the port’s terminal operating system that will automatically provide a verified gross mass for the container.

Shippers will be charged 19.50 pounds ($27.50) for each container weighed at Liverpool and Greenock and 23 euros ($26) at the Dublin terminal.

DP World has installed weighing solutions on its automated stacking cranes at London Gateway and onboard its straddle carriers at Southampton. The service at London Gateway and Southampton will cost 17.50 pounds.

Felixstowe, the U.K.’s largest container port handling over 4 million TEUs annually, will weigh containers arriving by both train and truck. The port will charge 21 pounds for VGM generation.

Forth Ports will offer weighing services at the Scottish port of Grangemouth and at the London Container Terminal in Tilbury.

If you have any questions regarding the SOLAS regulations, please contact  RCL Agencies at 973-779-5900

VGM Administrative Fee effective July 1st

In accordance with the SOLAS ruling effective July 1, 2016, the following fee(s) are applicable to meet compliance requirements for the submission of VGM (Verified Gross Mass)-  to the applicable entity(ies):

VGM Administrative Fee: usd 12.50 per container

As a requirement of the ruling, the shipper is obligated to provide the VGM clearly noted in writing with an authorized signature on the shipping documentation by a person duly authorized by the shipper. Shipper’s weight verification is compliant with the SOLAS ruling when it is “signed”, meaning by a specific person representing the shipper and is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper.  All documents may be issued electronically.

Such documentation includes:

  • SLI (Shippers Letter of Instructions)
  •  Dock receipt
  • Inland Bill of Lading
  • Packing Lists and/or Commercial Invoices per Container
  •  Signed document listing containers, pcs, net weight & VGM per Container supported by applicable booking details

Should Charter Container Line be requested to obtain the VGM on your behalf where services such as; but not limited to weight tickets, driver waiting time, additional drayage(s), re-delivery, re-positioning, terminal release, shifting fees, per diem, storage, port/carrier administrative fees  and all other supplementary applicable expenses incurred above the VGM Administrative fee will apply and be  invoiced accordingly to the USPPI (U.S. Principal Party in Interest) and/or their authorized  representative.

Please note that VGM Fee doesn’t apply to any break bulk, roro or ocean carrier flatbed cargo.

The following link provides in-depth detail of the SOLAS ruling for your review: