New regulations will come into force from 1st July 2016 (SOLAS VI Regulation 2), which will expand on how the gross mass of cargo and container tare weights must be verified. The changes in the rules are as a result of incidents, reports and concerns from the carriers that the actual weight of cargo is often different to the declared weight, thus putting lives and equipment in danger whilst at sea and in port. From 1st July, the Shipper will be responsible to provide the carrier/forwarder with a Verified Gross Mass (VGM), and therefore can no longer estimate to give an approximate weight.

For UK exports, there are only two methods which will be allowed:

Method 1: Weighing a packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment, for example weighbridges.

Method 2: Weighing all packages and cargo items, including any pallets and packing material, and then to add the tare mass of the container. Using method 2, can only be accepted if the shipper has been approved by the regulating authority.

For certain types of cargo items, such as scrap metal, unbagged grain and other bulk cargo, is not suitable for method 2, as they do not easily lend themselves to individual weighing of items. In these cases, only method 1 should be used instead.

Under the new regulations, containers without a verified gross mass cannot be loaded onto a ship.

If you require any further information on any of the above or need assistance to ensure that your supply chain will not be affected, please get in touch.