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Changes to shipping container weighing rules are effective July 1st, but many shippers and forwarders face confusion over exactly how to comply.

Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) specify that shippers must provide all containers’ verified gross mass (VGM) to both ocean carrier and port terminal, before containers are loaded onto ships. This includes freight forwarders who are named as the shipper on the bill of lading.

However, a Drewry report has found that many shippers feel they are insufficiently informed about the requirements for compliance. For example, the US Coast Guard already requires declarations of VGM and has stated its flexibility in working with other “entities” in the export chain, but it remains unclear to many shippers if the Coast Guard’s methods for weighing are sufficient to comply with the rules of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

According to Drewry’s survey, more than half of shippers are expecting delays, and almost a fifth will be moving their volume into air cargo in anticipation, while the same amount will be building safety stocks to mitigate the risks of uncertain supply.

(Source: Global Trade)

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