May 20 - The IMO has confirmed that the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has approved draft amendments to Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) chapter VI to require mandatory verification of the gross mass of containers.
HLPFI understands that the draft amendments will be put forward for adoption to the next MSC session - MSC 94 - in November 2014 and, if approved, will enter into force in July 2016.
MSC also approved and issued related draft guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo, designed to assist supply chain participants' and SOLAS contracting governments' implementation of the container weight verification requirements.
The draft amendments would add new paragraphs to SOLAS regulation VI/2 Cargo information to require the shipper of a container to verify the gross mass of container, and to ensure that the verified gross mass is stated in the shipping document. The packed container should not be loaded onto the ship if the verified gross mass has not been provided or obtained.
The gross mass of containers shall be verified by either weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or by weighing all packages and cargo items and adding the tare mass (mass of an empty container) to the sum of the single masses.
MSC also approved a new Code of Practice for the Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs), including intermodal shipping containers. The new CTU Code, which will replace the current IMO/ILO/UNECE Guidelines for packing of CTU, has already been approved by the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) and will now go to the International Labour Organization (ILO) for approval. The CTU Code provides information and guidance to shippers, packers and other parties in the international supply chains for the safe packing, handling and transport of CTUs.