Updated FAQs on verified container weighing regulations

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On the 22nd March, a meeting between Trade and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) took place to discuss the implementation of the SOLAS amendment. 

The below FAQs are a summary, written by the UK government website, of the last month question and answer session held between the MCA and members of industry.

If you cannot find the answers to your questions feel free to contact us. We would be happy to share with you our knowledge on the verified container weighing regulations.

Call us on +44 (0)20 8539 8899 or email us at enquiries@unsworth.uk

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Application Process:

The MCA began issuing ‘Method 2’ approvals by the previous financial year (6 April 2016). The fee for the processing of the application is £94.00, which must be paid in advance of the Approval Document being issued. Applicants have the option of paying by credit card or bank transfer, and should quote their application number when making payment. A credit card form to complete and submit with your application and a PDF document containing the bank details to which payment should be made can be found here.

Shippers who have not yet applied may apply now and provided a completed application and the associated payment is received prior to 15th June it will be processed before 1st July. Applications received, or applications where the payment is received after 15th June will not be guaranteed to be processed before to 1st July.

The reason there is not a web based form to complete is because the shipper has the opportunity to apply in the way most suitable to them. An indicative application document can be found here which provides details of all the information required in a checklist format – all of which must be addressed for the application to be considered and includes a “tick box” checklist which sets out the information detailing the supporting evidence that has been supplied should accompany the paperwork, and evidence should be annotated with the appropriate checklist item number or description.

When multiple documents exist for the same item for example, certificates, a single example will suffice but all documents must be available if requested by the MCA. Application should preferably be made via email to container.weight@mcga.gov.uk. Postal applications should be addressed to Container Weight, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Bay 2/29, Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton SO15 1EG.

Shippers with multiple sites may make a single application however the Group/Headquarters making the application is responsible for ensuring all sites comply with organisations procedures.

The shipper is ultimately responsible for providing the VGM to the carrier. If a shipper wishes to contract out the packing and determination of the VGM of the loaded container to another entity, including making the application for Method 2 approval, this should be considered as being analogous to an external site and the entity carrying out this process should be named on the application.

FAQs:


Section A – General

  1. Will the regulation come into force on 1st July 2016 or could it be delayed? In recent weeks, there have been a number of press articles suggesting that some countries would be seeking a one year delay.
  1. It was discussed how a container would be considered that had been packed for shipping with an intended loading date prior to 1st July 2016 but, for whatever operational reason, could not make the intended sailing. The container was then required to be loaded aboard a vessel after 1st July, would that container then require a VGM?
  1. It was asked whether this position was internationally agreed.
  1. It was asked whether the regulator would be checking on carriers for compliance to the regulations.
  1. It was raised as to whether the checking of SOLAS VGM compliance could or would become part of the port state checks and, if so, what powers could they exert if non-compliance was identified?
  1. Where a terminal tractor was carrying two containers on top of each other would both be considered Ro-Ro and therefore fall outside of the SOLAS regulation?
  1. Can the shipper contract with third party service providers to obtain VGM either using Method 1 or Method 2?
  1. Should the 3rd party service provider simply become accredited to comply directly with Method 1 and/ or Method 2? If so what would they require?
  1. Do empty containers need to be weighed?
  1. Do break bulk and project cargoes need to be taken into account when planning ship stability?
  2. The requirement is for accurate gross mass; is there a margin of error defined for this ‘accuracy’?
  1. Will governments apply an enforcement tolerance threshold for determining compliance with the SOLAS requirements?
  1. How will this be enforced and what will be the level of penal- ties imposed by an Administration if a container is delivered by a shipper to a carrier with a misdeclared gross mass or if a shipper does not provide the verified gross mass for a packed container?
  1. Are operators throughout the supply chain (carriers and terminals) obligated to “whistle blow” where non-compliant shippers are identified through either check weighing or through provision of other services.
  1. Where a discrepancy is discovered either through the provision of a weighing service or through spot checking then, under the SOLAS regulation, the terminal is able to use the newly verified weight as the VGM, replacing the original value, therefore would the MCA/ regulator be aware of any non-compliance, unless the terminal did whistle blow?
  1. How would the MCA satisfy itself that compliance was being achieved?
  1. Theoretically, could fines be imposed on all three stakeholders (shipper, terminal and carrier)?
  1. Should a ‘pilot’ scheme be set up by a carrier, shippers, port and competent authority to test the system?
  1. When will UK ports/ terminals clarify whether they are to offer weighing services and if they are going to, exactly what services and at what cost?
  1. There is a need to establish which ports / terminals are not going to offer weighing services.
  1. How should the vehicle mass / running order be established where a weighbridge is used to obtain VGM under Method 1?
  1. Retention of records. For how long should VGM records be retained?

 

Section B – Method 1

  1. Where can we find a list of publically available weighbridges?
  1. Where a third party (including potentially a port terminal) starts weighing freight containers (i.e. under Method 1) will it have to become a ‘verified weigher’ in order to issue a valid weight ticket?
  1. In relation to the weight ticket, is there a prescribed format in terms of documentation?
  1. The MCA posed a question to the shipping lines, how are you expecting to receive the VGM data?
  1. Will the VGM need to be entered onto the face of the bill of lading?
  1. Where a shipper exporting scrap metal is concerned, typically the weight of the vehicle and empty container is established at the “in” gate. The container is then loaded and the container and vehicle weighed again on exit to establish a cargo Where this practice exists, could the shipper then simply add the tare weight of the container to the known cargo weight under Method 1?
  1. In the UK Will lifting equipment modified with load cells be an acceptable means of weighing through Method 1?

Section C – Method 2

  1. Will there be a publically available database identifying all certified Method 2 shippers?
  1. In practice, how will the electronic signature work and are the MCA looking for an individual’s name or that of the operator?
  1. If I have an operation which is certified for Method 2 weighing and then wish to add another location to my certification, how would that work in practice?
  1. Under Method 2, there is a likelihood that the packer and the shipper may be two different entities. In such circumstances, would the shipper still be the ultimately liable party?

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Section A – General

Question 1: Will the regulation come into force on 1st July 2016 or could it be delayed? In recent weeks, there have been a number of press articles suggesting that some countries would be seeking a one year delay.

IMO explained that the SOLAS provides for objections to be raised before the adoption of amendments, and no objections had been made by any Administration before the deadline on 1st January 2016. Following this deadline there is a six month window before the regulation comes into force.

 There remains an option for any member state to write to the Secretary General of the IMO and request a delay of implementation in that state for up to 12 months. This option remains open up until one day be- fore the deadline. It was noted that no Administration had written to the Secretary General as at 28 April.

Question 2: It was discussed how a container would be considered that had been packed for shipping with an intended loading date prior to 1st July 2016 but, for whatever operational reason, could not make the intended sailing. The container was then required to be loaded aboard a vessel after 1st July, would that container then require a VGM?

Strictly speaking, the regulation would apply, however it was noted that the MCA (UK) would seek to enforce the SOLAS regulations with a “light touch” for a period of three months from 1st July 2016 in or- der to permit any such containers to be shipped and allow a smooth transition. This would also apply to transshipped containers, as well as containers presented prior to 1st July where the intended date of original export loading was prior to 1st July.

Question 3: It was asked whether this position was internationally agreed.

It was confirmed at this time that this was solely the UK position. However, following this session the updated FAQ’s and comments would be circulated amongst other member states and NGOs.

Questions 4. It was asked whether the regulator would be checking on carriers for compliance to the regulations.

 It was noted that the MCA as regulator in the UK would have the power to check whether carriers were compliant with the SOLAS regulations.

Question 5: It was raised as to whether the checking of SOLAS VGM compliance could or would become part of the port state checks and, if so, what powers could they exert if non-compliance was identified?

For example, if a container was loaded on board a ship in the UK destined for Japan, then called in Germany, if a German port state inspector boarded the ship and discovered that the container loaded in the UK was not compliant, could the inspector hold the container in Germany? Or would the inspector only be interested in checking what was actually being loaded in Germany?

Since this regulation relates to export containers only, there would be no direct requirement for the German inspector to make such enquiries. It has already been suggested that this type of issue is raised at the next meeting on the Paris MOU. However, it was noted that there was no stakeholder interest to disrupt trade.

Question 6: Where a terminal tractor was carrying two containers on top of each other would both be considered Ro-Ro and therefore fall outside of the SOLAS regulation?

Yes, if they were “driven” on to the ship then they would fall outside of the SOLAS regulation. Effectively, the VGM is required at the point of lifting the packed container onto a ship type regulated under the SOLAS VI amendment. Since MAFIs and cassettes are driven on and off Ro-Ros on short international voyages the UK interpretation is that they are not subject to the SOLAS VI amendment however the carrier (ship) would have to ensure the carriage of such units is allowed under the ship’s cargo securing manual.

Need to ship a vehicle? Discover our automotive service here!

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Question 7: Can the shipper contract with third party service providers to obtain VGM either using Method 1 or Method 2?

As a general comment the Shipper remains legally liable under the regulation to obtain the VGM. Therefore such operational tasks could be contracted out, however it was recommended that any ship- per doing so should ensure that they perform due diligence on the 3rd party service provider to ensure that they are compliant with the regulation and are able to carry out the services. Ultimately, the ship- per remains responsible that an accurate VGM is obtained.

Organizations should refer to the draft MSC Circular “Due diligence checklist in identifying providers of CTU-related services”, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/due-diligence-checklist-in- identifying-providers-of-ctu-related-services which is expected to be adopted by the IMO at MSC 96 in May 2016. Whilst this document is not directly related to the provisions of the SOLAS amendments it does provide some relevant guidance in terms of performing due diligence. MGN 534, Annex 2, sections A2.3 and A2.4 provides a useful checklist that is applicable equally to Method 1 and Method 2 service providers.

 

Question 8. Should the 3rd party service provider simply become accredited to comply directly with Method 1 and/ or Method 2? If so what would they require?

No, if the 3rd party uses Method 1 to weigh the packed container, they do not need to be approved by the MCA. However the weighing equipment must be in compliance with MCA/NMRO standards. 

The shipper is ultimately responsible for obtaining the VGM by whichever method is chosen. The use of Method 2 is a commercial decision, including which party, shipper or 3rd party, seeks to become a MCA approved Method 2 user. Both options are possible.

Question 9: Do empty containers need to be weighed?

No, refer to MSC Circular 1475 paragraph 12.1. Stakeholders are not required to weigh empty containers, but are encouraged to have robust processes in place to ensure that empty containers are in fact empty.

Tank containers were considered and whether empty dirty was considered empty. It was noted that empty dirty tank containers would need to be weighed and VGM provided.

Where shipper-owned containers are concerned, the position and responsibilities appear clear. When the shipping line’s own containers are concerned, in those cases the carrier would be responsible for having robust processes in place to address this issue.

Question 10: Do break bulk and project cargoes need to be taken into account when planning ship stability?

The SOLAS Regulations apply to containerized cargo only. Thus, where cargo is stowed on a single flat rack then SOLAS Regulations would require a VGM. Where a number of flat racks are used to create a false deck for large items of cargo to be stowed, then the SOLAS Regulations in relation to VGM would not be applicable. Of course, ship planning should take account of the tare mass of any such flat racks used, together with the mass of the cargo itself.

Question 11: The requirement is for accurate gross mass; is there a margin of error defined for this ‘accuracy’?

UK Position;

General comment was made that accuracy was the target.

It was noted that non-automatic weighing instruments (NAWI), e.g. static weighbridges, would be considered differently than automatic [catch] weighing instruments (ACWI), e.g. dynamic load sensors on lifting equipment.

NAWI would need to be certified by trading standards, be type approved and would need to be regularly calibrated in line with the relevant regulation.

ACWI would need to be certified upon installation by either Trading Standards or the manufacturer/ installer, but may not fall under the jurisdiction of trading standards for future calibration or certification. This equipment, once installed and initially certified, would fall under the jurisdiction of the MCA as regulator. The expectation after installation would be for the owner/ operator of that equipment to have a QMS in place to ensure it remained “calibrated/ certified” (fit for purpose).

The principle of non-trade use was discussed. It was noted that verifying the gross mass of containers under the SOLAS Regulations was considered non-trade use, since any charge is for the process only. However, it was further noted that the use of NAWI may fall under the jurisdiction of Trading Standards since such equipment is used to establish weight for broader trade purposes. It was recommended that operators of such equipment contact their local Trading Standards for further clarification.

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Question 12: Will governments apply an enforcement tolerance threshold for determining compliance with the SOLAS requirements? 

The UK has articulated ±5% or ±500kgs enforcement tolerance strictly for guidance purposes only. It was noted that this will be used and considered on a case by case basis. It was also considered that where certain equipment was noted to be capable of ±5% accuracy, then operators were effectively on the edge of acceptability and that taking such a position was not recommended or feasible from an operational perspective. It was also stressed that government enforcement threshold should not be confused with the issue of accuracy and the underlying issue of the VGM being as accurate as possible (see also Method 1 and Method 2).

Question 13: How will this be enforced and what will be the level of penal- ties imposed by an Administration if a container is delivered by a shipper to a carrier with a misdeclared gross mass or if a shipper does not provide the verified gross mass for a packed container?

It was outlined that in the UK, any fines or penalties in connection with non-compliance under the SOLAS Regulations would be considered under the existing framework of the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999. These regulations provide for:-

*Unlimited fines.

*Up to 2 year’s imprisonment.

 

Question 14: Are operators throughout the supply chain (carriers and terminals) obligated to “whistle blow” where non-compliant shippers are identified through either check weighing or through provision of other services.

There is no obligation under the SOLAS Regulation to whistle blow. However there may be a circumstances when it is appropriate to do so. It was considered that each case would have to be considered and a judgement call made, perhaps where there was a repeat offender or there was a large variation between the declared VGM and the check-weighing.

It was discussed that the terminal and carrier were not obligated to check-weigh, therefore such issues may not arise.

It was also considered that if a service is provided or a check was made, then knowledge may attract liability if no remedial action was taken. Obviously, where the gross mass results in the container being ‘over- weight’ (for road or rail carriage), or ‘overloaded’ (exceeding the rated capability of the unit), liability may attach for any stakeholder allowing the unit to continue in the supply chain.

Question 15: Where a discrepancy is discovered either through the provision of a weighing service or through spot checking then, under the SOLAS regulation, the terminal is able to use the newly verified weight as the VGM, replacing the original value, therefore would the MCA/ regulator be aware of any non-compliance, unless the terminal did whistle blow?

If a large variation is found between the VGM provided by the shipper and a VGM obtained by a subsequent weighing by the terminal or elsewhere, the latter VGM may be used in the stow plan and it is recommended that there should be dialogue between the shipper, terminal and carrier in such situations. In such a case, the container may be loaded and there is no requirement to notify the MCA/ regulator. However, the MCA would be empowered to perform checks on documentation which would highlight non-compliances on the shippers’ part. The importance of accurate and detailed record keeping was highlighted.

Question 16: How would the MCA satisfy itself that compliance was being achieved?

The MCA would perform audit checks of documentation and procedures. Initially they may request to audit the document trail, for example, of 10 containers. From the information provided the MCA would be empowered, if required, to trace back to the shipper and interrogate their procedures and calculations. It was also noted that the MCA may perform random spot checks. Whilst not confirmed, it was considered that there may be some merit in joining such checks to the existing dangerous goods inspections which the MCA carry out.

Question 17: Theoretically, could fines be imposed on all three stakeholders (shipper, terminal and carrier)?

 Yes, the MCA as regulator could impose fines on all three, if required.

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Question 18: Should a ‘pilot’ scheme be set up by a carrier, shippers, port and competent authority to test the system?

The MCA recognises that this will be an evolving situation. There will be no formal pilot scheme, how- ever the MCA will continue to work with industry to achieve compliance.

Question 19: When will UK ports/ terminals clarify whether they are to offer weighing services and if they are going to, exactly what services and at what cost?

  1. Hutchinson will be offering a service, FAQ to be published next week.
  2. DPW will be offering a service and have already written to all customers. DPW will accept containers with and without VGM, will await the shipper’s confirmation of the same and, if required, will be able to weigh and verify at a cost.
  3. Peel Ports will be offering a service, FAQ document sent out to customers last week.
  4. ACT will have a service available, already written to all customers.
  5. ABP will have a service available.
  6. Port of Tyne will have a service available, weighing equipment being installed.
  7. Bristol will have a service available.
  8. Grangemouth will have access to an off-site service.
  9. Greenock will have access to an off-site service.

No schedule of costs was discussed as this was a commercial matter, so it was outside the scope of this meeting.

It was suggested that where a number of ports / terminals offer different procedures or levels of service this could lead to further confusion for shippers.

The port of Felixstowe offers weighing services. Find out more here!

Question 20: There is a need to establish which ports / terminals are not going to offer weighing services.

It was agreed that it would be helpful to shippers and other stakeholders to establish if any other ports / terminals are going to offer weighing services. It was also the case that the above list was only compiled from those who were present at the meeting and there should be an opportunity for others not present to add to the list.

UK Port Trade bodies will encourage their members not mentioned above to publicize, if appropriate what, if any, service they may be offering

Question 21: How should the vehicle mass / running order be established where a weighbridge is used to obtain VGM under Method 1?

Clearly, an accurate figure is critical in ensuring that the correct weight value can be deducted to pro- vide the VGM of the packed container. However, this essentially falls as a commercial issue and not one for the Regulator to determine. It would be expected that weighbridge providers set out auditable procedures that take into account the potential variability of vehicle mass/running order value and other operational issues. From a regulatory perspective, liability remains with the shipper, who should perform due diligence.

Question 22: Retention of records.  For how long should VGM records be retained?

All parties (shippers, carriers and ports/terminals) are urged to retain all appropriate records, e.g. for shippers Method 1 or 2 results, for at least three months following the conclusion of each packed container movement, this only applies to VGM records. Reference should be made to any other relevant national requirements (e.g. HM Revenue and Customs) and the need to support any investigation that might be undertaken into an individual or series of container movements for a reasonable period in relation to each packed container movement. Inevitably, contractual terms will need to oblige 3rd party service providers to retain records in a similar manner.

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Section B – Method 1

Question 1: Where can we find a list of publically available weighbridges? 


This is available on the .gov.uk website. It was generally considered that, in reality, this is not an exhaustive list and operators of such equipment were under no obligation to feature on the list. It was noted that there were other websites who held directories, however they were neither frequently updated nor reliable.

Question 2: Where a third party (including potentially a port terminal) starts weighing freight containers (i.e. under Method 1) will it have to become a ‘verified weigher’ in order to issue a valid weight ticket?

No, the term “verified weigher” is only used in MGN534 in the context of Method 2. There is no requirement for Method 1 users to become approved by the MCA but this situation may lead to some further commercial and contractual considerations to ensure that the shippers’ position is protected. Reference again made to the draft MSC Circular on due diligence checklist for service providers.

Question 3: In relation to the weight ticket, is there a prescribed format in terms of documentation?

There is no prescribed format. MSC 1475 at paragraph 6 states that the shipper must communicate the VGM within a shipping document, but is silent on exactly which type of document must be used. There is an expectation that the value entered as VGM is specifically denoted as VGM to ensure that it is absolutely clear.

It was noted that if paper documentation was used, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and GSF had created a stamp which could be used on any documentation retrospectively to denote clearly the VGM value and responsible entity.

Question 4: The MCA posed a question to the shipping lines, how are you expecting to receive the VGM data?

A The VGM data is likely to be received electronically. To that end, carriers will be able to receive VGM EDI messages (e.g. VERMAS or 304), VGM information via carrier portals or third party portals; additional transmission methods may be available. It is understood that VGM information can be provided using tablets, laptops or mobile phones so existing communication technologies may be used by shippers for this purpose. In addition, there are two main port community systems in the UK and both are currently looking to develop their message standards to incorporate a VGM field. Other EDI message standards are similarly being revised. It was noted that most operations in the UK are now paperless.

It was noted that if a paper document is used to avoid any confusion, the VGM value should be specifically denoted as being the VGM.

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Question 5: Will the VGM need to be entered onto the face of the bill of lading?

SOLAS does not require VGM to be identified on the bill of lading. It was noted that the weight shown on the face of a bill of lading is primarily linked to the contractual liability regime and therefore relates to the weight of the cargo alone. Thus, VGM being the total weight of the packed container is necessarily a different value.

For containers containing consolidated cargoes, there may be several bills of lading. Equally, there are situations where multiple containers are consigned under a single ocean bill of lading. While there may be merit in stipulating VGM on the face of the bill of lading (for example as part of the cargo description), this is a matter for the commercial parties.

Question 6: Where a shipper exporting scrap metal is concerned, typically the weight of the vehicle and empty container is established at the “in” gate. The container is then loaded and the container and vehicle weighed again on exit to establish a cargo weight. Where this practice exists, could the shipper then simply add the tare weight of the container to the known cargo weight under Method 1?

It was confirmed that such circumstances would fall under Method

Note: In the UK Method 1 users are not required to register with the MCA, however shippers must be able upon request by the MCA or other body, to provide the following;

  • Evidence that the weighing equipment has been supplied/maintained for the purpose of determining the VGM of a packed container and is capable of producing a ‘ticket’ (physical or electronic record). Each ‘ticket’ must include the container number, the VGM of the container, and be sup- ported by procedures for, and records of, any calculations which have been made. If this information is produced as an electronic record, it is essential itemized records are able to be provided for audit purposes without delay and able to be produced as a paper document, if
  • Records kept of maintenance and verification (calibration) procedures, including any corrective / remedial actions

Question 7: Port container handling equipment generally has onboard weighing technology (‘PLCs’) typically accurate to within 5% and designed to prevent overloading of the equipment. If such data are integrated into other relevant systems (including those used for ship stowage planning) is this likely to be acceptable for determining verified gross mass under Method 1?

In the UK Will lifting equipment modified with load cells be an acceptable means of weighing through Method 1?

Yes, through industry consultation the MCA have provided for two options:-

±2% above 20MT or ±400kgs below 20MT

±2% above 15MT or ±300kgs below 15MT

The MCA leaves the choice as to which of the two is to be used as a commercial one, although recommends adoption of option 2. The operator will need to be able to demonstrate certification, calibration and maintenance procedures to attain approval.

As this equipment is considered automated (ACWI), it will not fall under the jurisdiction of Trading Standards. The MCA will therefore regulate the use of this equipment and when auditing operators will look to interrogate their Quality Management Systems (QMS’s) to determine compliance.

Port Skills and Safety with the assistance of member UK port stakeholders, have coordinated and developed a standard operating procedure (S.O.P) in relation to this type of equipment, which will highlight the minimum expected standards for the compliant operation of this equipment. The MCA believes that this SOP will provide compliance to the SOLAS regulations.  

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Section C – Method 2

UK implementation of Method 2 was discussed in general terms. It was noted that it is not anticipated that there would be site visits by the regulator in order to certify a shipper to use Method 2. However, the regulator may carry out spot checks in addition to any enforcement actions.

It was indicated that the application process would be a paper audit and that applicants would submit the completed form to the MCA for assessment. Organizations may provide consultancy services to assist in the process; FTA/GSF confirmed their intention to offer such a service.

The details of the application process will be given on the MCA website.

It was noted that the cost of assessment would be based on the standard hourly rate of the MCA and could be expected to be in the order of UK £100.00.

It was again noted that applicants under Method 2 may, in addition to shippers who are traders (buyers/sellers of cargo), manufacturers and others with an ownership interest in the cargo, including freight forwarders and other 3rd party service providers. In this way, it may be possible for a Method 2 certified entity identified as ‘shipper’ on the ocean bill of lading to rely on information provided by other Method 2 certified entities. The relevant procedures will need to demonstrate the due diligence processes undertaken between the parties.

Question 1: Will there be a publically available database identifying all certified Method 2 shippers?

Yes, the MCA will host a database/ spreadsheet online which will identify all certified Method 2 ship- pers.

There is a question as to whether all shippers would be content to have their details made publically available in this way, this would need to be addressed beforehand however, the intention would be to host a data- base or spreadsheet.

Question 2: In practice, how will the electronic signature work and are the MCA looking for an individual’s name or that of the operator?

The SOLAS Regulation requires a signature. The MCA as regulator is looking for industry to establish a procedure to demonstrate that a “signature equivalent” has been used and can be provided on request. Given the MCA would be prosecuting the organization rather than the individual, it was suggested that the electronic signature could therefore be the name of the business/ organization rather than the individual.

Question 3: If I have an operation which is certified for Method 2 weighing and then wish to add another lo- cation to my certification, how would that work in practice?

In principle, a separate application would need to be made for each new location.

It was suggested by Chris Welsh (GSF) that there may be an opportunity to amend the application form to denote that ALL locations/ operations operating to the same procedural standards are fully compliant and therefore all would be certified in any event. It was pointed out that this could create an additional burden on shippers and unless there was a substantive change, for example shippers’ company name changed etc, was not necessary. The MCA believed that it was the responsibility of the shipper approved under Method 2 to ensure that common written procedures are evidenced and used at each new site and the approval document updated as appropriate or when renewed.

Following the issuance on a MCA approval additional sites may be added to an existing approval on the basis that the procedures used for determining the VGM of the packed container are substantially the same as that declared for the principal site. A declaration to this effect should be sent to container.weight@mcga.gov.uk, and a fee may be charged for this service.

Question 4: Under Method 2, there is a likelihood that the packer and the shipper may be two different entities. In such circumstances, would the shipper still be the ultimately liable party?

Yes, that is what the regulation states. It is expected that the shipper named on the ocean bill of lading would perform due diligence on the 3rd party and potentially impose contractual obligations to ensure compliance.

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If you did not find answers to your questions feel free to contact us. We would be happy to share with you our knowledge on the verified container weighing regulations.

Call us on +44 (0)20 8539 8899 or email us at enquiries@unsworth.uk

 

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