Container Weights

See our extensive and regularly updated Q&A here.

Background:

Effective July 1, 2016, any shipping container leaving from any port in the world must be accompanied by a shipping document signed either electronically or in hard copy by the shipper on the bill of lading listing the verified gross mass of a container in order to be loaded onto a ship. The container weight mandate from the International Maritime Organization under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention comes after misdeclared weights contributed to maritime casualties such as the breakup and subsequent beaching of the MSC Napoli on the southern U.K. coast in 2007 and the partial capsizing a feeder ship in the Spanish port of Algeciras in June, 2015.

The weighing must be done in one of two approved ways, called Method 1 and Method 2, on scales calibrated and certified to the national standards of the country where the weighing was performed. Many of finer points of the new regulation have not yet been finalized, such as enforcement, and what happens to a container that arrives at a port without the necessary documentation or if the VGM (verified gross mass) declaration for a container turns out to be false or incorrect.

JOC.com is dedicated to providing shippers, carriers, forwarders, ports and others with extensive, authoritative coverage of what will be the one of the largest challenges facing the container shipping industry globally in 2016. See this extensive, continuously updated Q&A covering the range of issues that shippers, carriers, 3PLs and terminals need to be aware of as the implementation date approaches.

Container Weights Mandate Infographic:

 

News & Analysis

23 Jun 2017
It has been a year since the International Maritime Organization rolled out new rules for container weight verification across the globe.
13 Jun 2017
A year after the implementation of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requirement, the once hot-button fears about the regulation have disappeared, but doubts on the accuracy of declarations linger.
01 Dec 2016
Indian shippers and stakeholders have a further four-month grace period to be fully compliant with the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, verified gross mass mandate.
04 Nov 2016
A New Zealand company has launched a relatively small, portable scale designed to enable shippers to weigh a container atop a chassis, saying it will help shippers comply with new global container weight rules.
The rollout of the Safety of Life at Sea verified gross mass mandate in India has seen clashes between shippers, terminal operators, and regulators.
03 Oct 2016
India’s Directorate General of Shipping has extended its grace period for shippers to be fully compliant with the Safety of Life at Sea verified gross mass mandate.
03 Oct 2016
Maritime authorities around the world are expected to more vigorously scrutinize shipments to ensure their compliance with the International Maritime Organization's Safety of Life at Sea container weight mandate.

Commentary

U.S. marine terminals’ last-minute rallying around existing container weighing services, global operators’ weighing services for those exporting outside the U.S. and a regulatory grace period made the rollout of International Maritime Organization's SOLAS akin to the much-feared but innocuous Y2K. 

More Commentary