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As you may be aware, amendments to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (“SOLAS”), will go into effect globally on July 1, 2016.
The recent amendment, which was adopted by International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member States, requires that a shipper verify the gross mass (Verified Gross Mass or VGM) of a container’s cargo/contents to the underlying carrier and terminal operator. While carriers, terminals and shippers alike will be affected by the new rules, the burden will primarily rest with shippers to provide the VGM.
Without a VGM, the amendments prohibit the vessel operator from loading a packed container.
As stated, from July 1st, the weight of the container and the cargo contained therein must be documented. Estimated weights are not allowed.
There are two options permissible in determining the weight or Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of the cargo and container.
They are as follows:
Method 1: Weighing
After it has been completely packed and sealed, the container can be weighed. The weighing can be performed by the shipper or by a third party contracted by the shipper (please refer to Chapter 5.11 of the SOLAS guideline).
Any scale, weighbridge, lifting equipment or other devices used to verify the gross mass of the container must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the state in which the equipment is being used (please refer to Chapter 2.1 of the SOLAS guideline).
Method 2: Calculating
All packages and cargo items may be weighed individually (including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material) and must be added to the tare of the container visible on the exterior of the container (please refer to Chapter 5.1.2 of the SOLAS guideline).
The method used for weighing the container’s content is subject to the certification an approval as determined by the competent authority of the state in which the packing and sealing of the container were completed (please refer to Chapter 188.8.131.52 of the SOLAS guideline).
Any weighing equipment used to weigh the contents of the container must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the state in which the equipment is being used (please refer to Chapter 2.1 of the SOLAS guideline).
There is currently no single document uniformly determined to be acceptable to verify the weight. Rather, the information can come via a weight certificate, separate documentation, or part of the shipping instructions.The amendment states that “irrespective of its form,” the document declaring the VGM should be signed by a person duly authorized by the shipper.
For shipper loaded FCL containers, JAS Forwarding requires a VGM from the shipper. Upon request, JAS Forwarding can have the container and content weighed at an outside weigh station.
Unless JAS Forwarding arranged the weighing of the container or has a weight certificate from an independent authority, JAS Forwarding will require a VGM certification from the shipper, prior to the carrier VGM cut off. The VGM cut off will be provided by the carrier at the time of booking.
JAS unless otherwise notified in writing, will ensure that the VGM is communicated to the carrier by one of the following methods:
The carrier itself is not obliged to cross-check the VGM received. Independent of the party verifying and sending the VGM, it remains the responsibility of the shipper that the carrier and terminal operator receive the information in time.
Once the Ocean Carrier receives the VGM, the Shipper’s responsibilities are complete.
It is unclear yet what stance of the various Ports and Terminals will take globally. Some have announced that they will not accept containers into the terminal unless a VGM has already been submitted. Some have announced that they will accept containers but will be unable to weigh them, and others have confirmed that upon request, they will be able to weigh the container.
However, it is clear that if the VGM is not received by the VGM cut off, the container cannot be loaded on to the vessel.
As we get closer to the deadline, and industry groups coalesce into creating common forms, we will provide the documentation for the shipper’s certification.
Relevant Documents can be found below
Throughout March, in honor of International Women's Day(March 8), we are celebrating some of the remarkable women at JAS. Today, we are honored to highlight Maria Paula Eslava, Managing Director, at JAS Colombia.
What advice would you give your younger self?
“I would tell my younger self to be fearless and to worry less about what people think of you. Be confident in your capabilities and open to learning new things every day. Believe in your power.”
How have female mentors/role models influenced your career?
“Sheryl Sandberg former Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, wrote a great book called “Lean In.” It is a very inspiring piece of work that every female leader needs to read.”
What achievement are you most proud of while working at JAS?
“I began my career at JAS as a Country Operations Manager. Over the years, I found a way to respectfully open doors, and I became the first female Managing Director at JAS. I am proud to be leading my country and making it a successful subsidiary by building a winning team on the local level and helping the company grow within the market.”
Throughout March, in honor of International Women's Day (March 8), we are celebrating some of the remarkable women at JAS. Today, we are honored to highlight Ewa Osowska, Sales Manger, JAS Poland.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don't change anything. Be stubborn, be ambitious, and be committed. Lessons from failures can be a key to success in the future. Continue keeping your promises because trust builds business relationships that matter.
From the very beginning, I have treated work as a long-term journey. I like to learn and set ambitious goals for myself. I also like being open-minded and innovative.
When I started in November 2003 as an Airfreight Forwarder Assistant, I didn't know I would stay in the industry for the next 20 years. However, I am very happy with this choice right now. Over the years, I have had a chance to delve into the ins and outs of air freight, as well as ocean, road, and rail freight, and even contract logistics.
What achievement are you most proud of while working at JAS?
In February 2022, the eyes of the world were watching the dramatic scenes of the Russian attack on Ukraine. Poland, as a country with a direct border to Ukraine, has naturally become one of the major countries on the logistics map for building alternative supply chains for food, medications, medical kits, and all the other important equipment.
Thanks to JAS' global experience in Aid & Relief solutions, the United Nations has asked JAS to help support humanitarian efforts in Poland, a region where JAS recently expanded. Together with my colleague Salvatore Lauro, VP Regional Manager Center and South for Italy, we quickly created dedicated solutions so aid could be delivered despite the challenging situation. As a result, we were able to make food deliveries from the very beginning. I am proud of being part of it because it matters not only to me, not only to the company but to the Ukrainian people.
How do you #Embrace Equality?
It is a good question because, at JAS, people make the difference, regardless of gender, skin colour, or origin. I have not even thought about embracing equality, because it is already what I naturally do every day.
JAS’ weekly Less-than-Container Load (LCL) service from the Port of Gothenburg, Sweden (GOT) to Charleston, South Carolina, USA (CHS) is up and running.
With the global maritime market continuing to experience demand vs. capacity challenges, port congestion, and equipment imbalance, LCL services provide an opportunity to optimize your supply chain. These services are designed to provide the flexibility needed to keep your supply chain moving while offering cost savings when compared to air freight. Our dedicated LCL team members have the expertise to support your business while providing the best LCL service solution.
Please meet our Gothenburg to Charleston LCL service expert, Åsa Andersson, from JAS Sweden in Helsingborg.
What is your role at JAS Worldwide Sweden?
For the past five years, I have worked as an Ocean Export Specialist at the Helsingborg branch in Sweden. As an LCL expert, I focus on service from Gothenburg to Charleston. This includes container planning, maintaining contact with the shipping lines, issuing required documents for shipping goods to the US, and keeping in close contact with my JAS Charleston colleagues.
What is the advantage of having LCL service from Gothenburg in Sweden to Charleston in the US?
The reason why we’ve chosen to ship from Gothenburg port in Sweden is because it is the largest port in the Nordics. There we have a contracted and reliable terminal and it’s well located for goods from both northern and southern Sweden.
And why do we ship to Charleston in the US?
JAS in Charleston has its own terminal, which means that we have control over the cargo operations there, and with Charleston is ideally located for moving goods to their final destinations.
What are the benefits of an LCL service between Gothenburg and Charleston?
With this service not only is JAS able to provide efficient transit times between Gothenburg and Charleston but we also maintain control of the goods from sender to recipient. At the same time we provide a good rate overview because we collect the goods.
Has shipping goods from the Nordics to the US changed after the Pandemic and if so, how?
I feel the interest in shipping goods to the US has increased since the Pandemic as we are seeing more demand for shipping services.
What challenges have you experienced after the Pandemic?
The after effect of the Pandemic and the concern that prevails globally at the moment means that there is still a risk of shipping line changing sailing schedules with short notice.
What is important to think about when shipping goods to the US?
Since the US has special requirements for sending goods there, it is important that you, as an exporter, have extra control over delivery conditions, what broker you choose, and who does the ISF filing. Everything must be in place before the goods are shipped; otherwise, there may be hefty fines at the destination, which could have been avoided.
What do you like about your job, and what do you find most rewarding?
No day is alike – that's something I find attractive about my job. I have been in the business for 35 years now. I love what I do and enjoy working with my nice colleagues across Sweden and the US.
It is gratifying to find the best solutions for our customers and to experience that the customer is satisfied.
Thank you, Åsa!
For more information about our Gothenburg to Charleston LCL service, reach out to your local sales representative or download the flyer below.