What You Need to Know About the New SOLAS Weight Requirement

What You Need to Know About the New SOLAS Weight RequirementIf you’re involved in the ocean freight industry, Inland Marine Insurance will protect your financial interests should your vessels be damaged or involved in an accident. Effective July 1, 2016, a new Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention requirement about container weight goes into effect with one key goal: protecting your vessels and crew. Read on to learn what you need to know about the new SOLAS weight requirement.

What is It?

The new SOLAS requirement mandates that all containers must be weighed before they are placed on the vessel. The World Shipping Council has advocated for this container weight requirement for years. Shippers can either weigh the full container or weigh the container and its contents separately and add them together. Weight estimates are not allowed. This requirement is in place because incorrect container weights have a detrimental effect on vessels, terminal equipment, trucks, and the people who work with these containers. The rule seeks to halt the widespread erroneous weight designations on cargo manifests.

Who will be Affected?

Who will be affected by this requirement? Anyone involved in the container supply chain will be impacted. Shippers will be required to weigh containers using certified equipment that meets national calibration standards. An individual representing the shipper must sign and verify the weight. Booking agents will need to know and share the weight with vessel and terminal operators who use container weights to create storage plans.

What Else You Need to Know

Each port’s procedures for declaring containers’ verified weights may vary. Some require including the weight in the instructions to the shipping company. Other require the weight be listed in a weight-certification document. Regardless of the specific requirement for how to communicate the weight, that weight must be a verified gross mass weight rather than an estimated weight. Ports will refuse to load containers without a weight designation.

This update, at first glance, may seem like a hassle to implement. The SOLAS regulation, however, is straightforward, reasonable, and may even reduce harmful risks to your business or employees. If you have questions about whether the SOLAS requirement may affect your marine insurance policy, contact us at The Rubin Group, 877.806.7239. We are always here to help!