Ready or not, the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea convention) container weight verification rule that was scheduled to come into effect on July 1st, is now a reality. Many developments have taken place in the past month in the rush of getting prepared and we now see even more last minute activity this week. The disparity however between countries remains large.

We recently surveyed our Harmony network to gauge the status of our own compliance for July 1st. In over 91% of our locations, our Harmony members are well prepared and are able to establish a VGM for each outbound container prior to delivery to the port.

On a global scale, we are seeing an increasing number of ports that offer a weighing service. This service will be charged, but prices vary greatly (between €10 and €250). Additionally, leading global freight forwarders and some terminal operators are offering both the physical weighing services and a filing service for the VGM (Verified Gross Mass). There is still, however, some criticism and discussion surrounding this development.

The issues that currently remain are the lack of information & communication from the authorities in various countries and still a general lack of weighing capacity. Some delay and congestion is to be expected in the aftermath of July 1st. However, in order to avoid any severe disruption in transportation flow, we do expect that leniency will be shown by terminals and carriers, as recently requested by the International Maritime Organisation.

Regarding this article, you can contact Elisabeth van Ebbenhorst Tengbergen (Harmony Relocation Network) at e.tengbergen@harmonyrelo.com.

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