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SOLAS Implementation in SVM LRP / ARP

Introduction of SOLAS – Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Requirement

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee officially adopted the new amendment to Safety of Life at Sea Convention SOLAS, that as a condition for vessel loading, the weight of a packed export container must be verified using either of the two permissible methods. The SOLAS container weight verification or Verified Gross Mass (VGM) requirement will enter into force on July 1, 2016. The SOLAS convention is applicable global law. This regulation places a requirement on the shipper of a packed container (shipper as defined on the shipping papers), regardless of who packed the container, to verify and provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative prior to it being loaded onto a ship. After 1st July 2016, it would be a violation of SOLAS convention to load a packed container onto a vessel if the vessel operator and marine terminal operator do not have a verified container weight.

The SOLAS regulation provides for two methods to verify the gross weight of a container,

Method 1: Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment
Method 2: Weighing all packages and cargo items to be packed in the container and adding the tare weight of the container, using a certified method approved by the competent authority.

All countries that are signatory to the convention are bound under the convention to enforce this new requirement on verified gross mass, in their respective jurisdictions.

Implementation of VGM in SVM LRP/ARP

Solverminds’ Liner and Agency Resources Planning System, an integrated liner operations and optimization system that are used by many container shipping companies, has added new function to address the compliance to SOLAS – VGMregulation. The new functions includes providing capabilities to upload VGM information using EDI message, manual entry into system by agency with attachment of supporting VGM declaration document provided by shipper and online upload and entry by shippers on e-commerce shipment portal with attachment.

The VGM weight verification information is provided by shipper or its authorized agent and the VGM reference number is mapped with the respective Container and Book number for each shipment. The same VGM information is carried through to BL, manifest and other operations modules in the system. When performing vessel load planning to produce container load list/booking forecast to terminal or ship planning department, system will validate if the container has the VGM information provided by shipper or its agent. Containers that are found without the VGM information and the weight declared in VGM is in violation of container CSC payload will be red flag and omitted/prevented from inclusion in Container Load List/Booking Forecast to be submitted to terminal and stowage planning. The cut-off date for submission of VGM information to the container carrier can be maintained in system by carrier according to each port/terminal’s operating procedures.

A new EDIFACT message, VERMAS, has been developed. This message industry supply chain players to exchanging verified container weight (VGM) information electronically, including verified weight authorized certificates issued by the authorized party on behalf of shippers to meet the SOLAS requirements.

Call for Action?

Participants in the container supply chain need to agree the necessary amendments to planning, operational procedures and communications to ensure that verified weights are available before packed containers are placed aboard ships. Container carriers should consider how the changes may affect their businesses, relationships with counterparts and also the commercial opportunities this development may present. Forwarders, carriers and terminals need to review their terms and conditions of business and commercial contracts. Carriers and terminal operators should have sufficient documented procedures and record keeping in place to protect themselves in case of incidents and potential claims arising.
If you are struggling to enhance your legacy system to meet the implementation timeline due to lack of resources or limitation in the legacy system, please contact us now at enquiry@solverminds.com