VGM Container Weight Mis-Declaration ‘Rampant at Most Ports’


Container carriers are dealing with widespread weight mis-declarations by shippers, refuelling long-standing ship safety hazard issues, reports The Loadstar.

Overweight containers

The modified Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) verified gross mass (VGM) rule was enforced in 2016 to address the problem of overweight containers, which typically cause vessel stability concerns and accidents at sea.

Sunil Vaswani, executive director of the Container Shipping Lines Association (CSLA), voiced concerns and said the problem had “very serious consequences” for the industry.

He explained that the SOLAS regulatory framework requires every container to have a VGM certification before it is allowed to be loaded onto a ship, and told The Loadstar: “However, there are instances where exporters continue to mis-declare weights.

CMA CGM has told its customers that container weight discrepancies had soared to “unacceptable levels”, with the potential to put supply chain flows at considerable risk.

SOLAS non-compliance is an industry-wide menace, say carriers, which needs swift stakeholder intervention, but the SOLAS rule had its share of controversy in its initial roll-out stages when shippers resisted attempts by container terminals across the globe to collect additional fees for VGM services.

Meanwhile, CMA CGM has announced a new surcharge on overweight shipments from the Middle East to North Europe, Scandinavia, Poland, the Baltic, the East/West Mediterranean, the Adriatic, North Africa and Morocco.  From 15 November, dry cargo loads weighing over 14 tons will attract a tariff of $50 per teu, it said.

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Source: The Loadstar


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