LA-Long Beach terminals won't weigh containers to comply with SOLAS

LA-Long Beach terminals won't weigh containers to comply with SOLAS

Terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach do not have the infrastructure that would allow them to weigh containers before they are loaded onto ships, so shippers will have to make other arrangements for obtaining the required verified gross mass of the containers before a July 1 international deadline takes effect, the terminals stated late Friday through a spokesperson.

The West Coast Marine Terminal Operators Association released the statement in reference to the amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea requirement that ocean carriers must have a certified VGM for each container before it is loaded onto vessels.

The WCMTOA statement said the 13 container terminals in the largest U.S. port complex are “incapable of providing VGM weighing services that adhere to the SOLAS guidelines scheduled to go into effect on July 1.”

WCMTOA went on to say that the individual terminal operators will “establish and communicate their own policies for handling VGM procedures” with their customers.

The close to 200 nations that have signed on to SOLAS are addressing the amendments in their own ways, which makes for a confusing environment in the global container shipping industry. The amendments requiring that a shipper files the VGM before the container is loaded onto the ship before the vessel departs from the port is mandatory. Containers with no VGM will be left behind.

SOLAS has also published guidelines on how shippers can provide a certified VGM. One method is to weigh the container and its contents. Shippers can also weigh the contents, including packaging materials, and add to that number the tare weight on the container.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at and follow him on Twitter:@billmongelluzzo