SOLAS compliance deadline adds strain on shippers
- The International Maritime Organization's three month grace period for the Safety of Life at Sea amendment on container verified gross mass (VGM) is set to expire Saturday, prompting concerns over the impact of non-compliance on cargo.
- The Journal of Commerce reports 95% of containers are VGM-compliant, although the accuracy of the declarations and IT infrastructure to verify this remains in question.
- Despite surprisingly smooth compliance to the regulation, some shippers are refusing to comply due to inability to implement the necessary technology for verifying container mass prompting concerns of small-scale disruptions beginning this weekend.
How can shippers argue with the intent of the IMO’s amendment of Safety of Life at Sea? It adds an additional level of safety features to those responsible for handling shipments while at sea. The amendment has general support, but it comes at a time of uncertainty and strain in the shipping community.
With the report of some level of noncompliance and risk of interruptions in the logistics channel, shippers are indeed weary of yet more disruptions. Regulatory and compliance issues in the logistics channels are happening with increasing frequency, most often as a result of a safety or operational issue needed to protect the employees of the carriers themselves, their assets, and even the general public.
In their hearts, supply chain managers feel that a regulation like VGM is reasonable under normal situations. But in these days of system nervousness in the channel, anything that may impact shipments is cause for consternation. It should blow over.
- Journal of Commerce SOLAS compliance high but holdouts, IT, and accuracy issues persist
- The National Law Review Safety of Life at Sea Verified Gross Mass Regulations for Containers Set to Go into Effect July 1