The date for Safety Of Life At Sea / SOLAS compliance to the new global regulations is drawing near – 1 July 2016.

At that time, all shippers who tender seafreight cargo for export from just about any port in the world, will need to make a prescribed declaration of the weight of the shipment, prior to any containers being received at wharf terminals.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has mandated these new regulations, which become law on 1 July in 171 countries around the world – most of the countries that Australia trades with are signatories to this treaty.

The new regulations effective 1 July 2016 state the following…

The SOLAS compliance regulations prescribe two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container:

  1. The shipper may weigh the packed and sealed container using calibrated and certified equipment.
  2. The shipper may add the weight of each package stuffed in the container, add the packing and securing material and add the tare weight of the utilized container. The method itself needs to be certified and approved by a national regulatory body in the country of export.

An estimation of weight is not permitted.

This responsibility sits clearly with the Shipper of the goods under the regulations, not with any other party (ie. Packer, Freight Forwarder, Shipping Line etc).

What do you need to do as an importer:

  • Raise the issue with your suppliers and get confidence that they and their vendors are familiar with the new responsibilities on them as the Shipper of goods
  • Understand the Supplier’s supply points and if products come from external vendors, get comfort that the external vendors are familiar with their responsibilities
  • Ensure your suppliers are conforming with either methods 1 or 2 in the supply of a verified gross mass declaration, compliant to the applicable regulations in their country.

Whilst the compliance is a Shipper obligation, it becomes an Importer’s issue if any Shippers fail to comply on or after 1 July 2016.  Non-compliance to regulations at the point of export will most probably cause shipping lines to refuse receival of containers for shipment. It is an offence under SOLAS regulations for ocean carriers to load or carry any non-compliant shipments.

We have drafted a letter template that can be used to bring the issue of compliance to your shippers attention. Also, we have prepared a slidepack which further details the new requirements.

Please feel free to contact a Magellan Customer Service Representative should you need further information or clarification on these new regulations.