The IMO has adopted an amendment to the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations to require that shippers of goods obtain the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of packed containers and communicate it to the ocean carriers sufficiently in advance of the ship stow planning. The regulation becomes mandatory for all IMO member states on 1st July 2016, when ocean carriers and container terminal operators will be legally obliged to ensure that containers without a VGM are not loaded on to a ship. The objective of the regulation is to prevent serious accidents at sea where a ship’s stability is compromised by wrongly declared cargo weight.
Both London Gateway and Southampton will implement scalable solutions to weigh containers shortly after arrival in the port and provide the VGM. The weights determined in this way will be used for the stowage on the container ships and ensures that users of DP World container terminals in the UK do not need to provide the VGM for their export containers but will be able to use the weight provided by DP World for this purpose. It will still be possible for shippers to provide a certified VGM through electronic messaging prior to arrival at the port if preferred.
Ganesh Raj, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director for DP World Europe & Russia, said: “From our contacts with UK exporters, freight forwarders and shipping lines it is clear that the industry in general is finding it challenging to be ready to provide the VGM of containers and without alternative solutions provided by our container terminals, this could become a significant logistics barrier for UK exports and world trade generally.
“DP World’s vision is to lead the future of global trade and has therefore decided to invest in equipment in the UK which will offer an efficient solution for this new mandatory regulation.”