A requirement to report the actual weight (described as “verified gross mass” or VGM) of the freight in ocean containers to the carriers will soon add additional responsibilities for shippers, as they will need to provide accurate weight data prior to shipments being accepted at port terminals and loaded on board vessels.

This will most likely adding costs to shipments for importers.

We wanted to reassure you that Columbia Transport has been following this requirement, and is making arrangements to respond to these new requirements.

This is all a result of a new program under The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).  Effective July 1, 2016, SOLAS will require that shippers of a packed container provide its verified gross mass (VGM) to the ocean carriers and the port terminals prior to delivering the freight to the terminal and carrier.   Carriers are also advising that they won’t accept bookings on or after June 20 without this VGM data being submitted.

For full container loads (FCL) of freight, this means that Columbia Transport will be required to weigh the container at a weighing station (locations yet to be determined).

Because in the case of full containers, there will now be two movements of the container – one to the weighing station and one to the terminal – there will be additional costs for the importers.  Consolidation companies may also add an additional charge for this service.

We do not currently know what those costs will be, as we are still determining how and were the weighing of the container will be done.

It will become increasingly important that suppliers and shippers provide accurate weight information on their shipments.  Containers may be randomly checked to verify reported weights, and delays will result if there are discrepancies found.

As soon as we can identify how this process will be most effectively performed, and have information regarding the additional costs that will be added to ocean freight shipments – both in full containers and as LCL shipments – we will share that information with you.

Please contact us if you have any questions.