IMO calls for three-month flexible approach to VGM

Verification of gross mass of packed containers

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee has bowed to industry pressure with regard to the introduction of SOLAS regulations demanding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers on 1 July.

A circular issued Monday noted that the MSC had taken on board concerns regarding the application of the requirements to a container which was loaded before 1 July 2016 and then transhipped. The Committee also acknowledged that, in the first few months after 1 July 2016, some leeway should be provided in order for any problems resulting from software updates, required for the electronic collection and transmittal of verified gross mass data, to be rectified without causing delays to containers being loaded.

“In this context, the MSC agreed that while there should be no delay in the implementation of the SOLAS requirements, it would be beneficial if Administrations and port State control authorities could take a “practical and pragmatic approach” when enforcing them, for a period of three months immediately following 1 July 2016,” the Circular noted.

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