- CargoSmart recently reviewed implementation of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) amendment at six ports across the globe, including ports in Los Angeles, CA and Savannah, GA, American Shipper reported Wednesday.
- The reviews were held from March through May 2016, before the new Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) took effect on July 1, then again between July and September, 2016, immediately after implementation. Concerns about delays caused by the mandatory reporting of container mass proved unfounded.
- What was noticed, however, was the shrinking number of arrivals at all six ports, which dropped from 3,444 vessels during March through May, down to 2,834 arrivals during July through September.
In many instances, the increased safety within the shipping industry has passed the point of habit to become law, as oversight and caution address past hazards and calamities.
Previously, freight containers for transport ships were often inaccurately labeled, especially as regarded weight, volume or mass. As incidents grew both in number and consequence, the International Maritime Organization amended the SOLAS documents addressing such issues, in order to ensure greater safety for shippers. The amendment was officially instituted on July 1, 2016.
While data demonstrating a reduced rate of injury as a result of VGM is not yet available, the intent of the amendment is to work in tandem with existing rules regarding proper packing and securing of cargo. When accurate weights are sufficiently secure, a clear drop in the rate of injury is expected.