With just 50 days until SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) comes into force APM Terminals is taking the lead to ensure a smooth transition into the new regulatory environment facing over 120 million containers entering the international supply chain. Under international law, from July 1, 2016, shippers are required to provide a VGM for every container before it can be loaded with the shipping line.
In 2014, the International Maritime organization (IMO), the agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating international seaborne trade, approved amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) which as of July 1, 2016, will require verification and documentation of loaded containers VGM before they can be loaded onto vessels. This can be accomplished by either weighing the loaded container with calibrated and certified equipment, or weighing the cargo prior to loading and adding it to the tare weight of the empty container.
APM Terminals teams are in dialogue with local regulatory authorities who are providing increasing clarity on national rules governing how to ensure compliance. Operational procedures and processes are being reviewed to ensure VGM process compliance throughout the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network.
Initially, APM Terminals will provide VGM generation services to supply chain partners at 29 locations globally, none of which are in the U.S. APM Terminals aims to add further locations where VGM support services can be offered.
For a list of ports APM Terminals will provide VGM support, visit:
Editor's Insight: The July 1 deadline is quickly approaching and many shippers are uncertain how the VGM rule will be enforced. The U.S. Coast Guard has filed a statement with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regarding the determination of container weights that says any equipment currently being used to comply with federal or state laws are acceptable for the purpose of complying with SOLAS.
But the Coast Guard’s statements do not address all shippers’ questions. The Progressive Farmer recently reported there is a lack of communication from ocean carriers on compliance implementation. Many shippers are uncertain what weighing methods carriers will accept and what costs carriers will incur.
For many, the bigger concern is that compliance uncertainty could cause port congestion and disrupt port traffic. Carriers need to communicate their expectations on VGM compliance. 5-13-16 By Elliot Maras