SOLAS VGM Compliance At Shocking Levels

SOLAS VGM Compliance At Shocking Levels

SOLAS VGM Compliance At Shocking Levels

Article #88

Last year came the introduction of the new SOLAS requirements for container weight verification to gauge accurate Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of load ocean containers. However after 9 months of the amendment being in place new data has emerged that few are complying to the change.

The Victoria International Container Terminal at Webb Dock has begin to check reference weighing export containers against the VGM of the forwarder. According to their data, an average of 20% of export boxes were mis-declared by a variance of 500kgs, and 8% of exports of boxes exceeded a mis-declaration of a tonne.

Despite a $9000 penalty for mis-declaration of VGM, mis-declaration is much higher than previous expected, especially in imports, which had mis-declarations of 40% for a variance over 500kg and an 11% mis-declaration for a variance greater than a tonne.

Last year, the SOLAS requirements were introduced with little protest. Most understood that their introduction was a necessary factor in providing a safer industry that did not result in tragedys such as the MSC Napoli. However the current rate of compliance to the requirement is something that should be a major concern for the industry.

Currently the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) mostly conducts paper-based auditing for export containers, which can be fraught with problems in mis-compliance. However check-weighing at the terminal will allow a legal accountability for everyone in the chain to understand the necessity to properly report.

In the future the VICT will introduce variance fees to stop the mis-declaration of boxes over a tonne, however in the meantime they are allowing a brief grace period to let the industry catch up to needed standards.

VICT is also encouraging members to use the Weight at Terminal Service which allows Pre-Receival Advice to not include the VGM, allowing members to gauge an accurate reading as opposed to a mis-declared estimate.

DP World are similarly developing a weight at terminal service, however a date of completion has not yet been identified.

Source: Lloyds List Australia

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