New SOLAS Container Weight Requirements a weighty change

New SOLAS Container Weight Requirements a weighty change

In less than a month, new SOLAS regulations (Safety of Life at Sea) will come into force, substantially impacting Forwarders, Shipping Lines and Shippers alike.

As seen in various news feeds and at recent events such as the AFIF Conference (Coffs Harbour) and the CBAFF Conference (Queenstown), this change is set to create a wave of change for the industry.

So what does all this mean? The new regulations from the International Maritime Organisation will require shippers to measure the verified gross mass (VGM) of their containers and pass this information to their freight forwarder or carrier, before the containers are loaded onto the vessel. There are 2 permissible methods for weighing:

  1. Method 1, which requires weighing the container after it has been packed, or
  2. Method 2, which requires weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container.


It is important to note that, for the shipper’s weight verification to be compliant with the SOLAS requirement it must be “signed”, meaning a specific person representing the shipper is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper.

As expressed in the World Shipping Council SOLAS Summary, responsibility is with the shipper to verify the weight of the packed container.

Forwarder’s are now making all necessary efforts to ensure their Shippers are made aware of these changes and will be ready to comply.

To that end, Expedient will be delivering a software update that includes:

  1. Additional fields that include the Weight and Declarant Details to the 1-Stop PRA messaging. Expedient is set to go live with the new change from the 15th of June. This will allow our customers to enter the new VGM related information to the existing PRA Screens. Expedient will also, based on submission validate this data to ensure the new mandatory fields are enforced.
  2. A new notification will also be available that can be sent to the shipper requesting the VGM information, the weighing method and the Declarant details to which they measured the weight.


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