U.S. FMC Chairman urges ocean carriers to let terminals provide container weight

With the implementation date for new container weighing requirements 10-days away, the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), Mario Cordero, said the time has come for ocean carriers to embrace the obvious solution to achieving compliance that Marine Terminal Operators can offer.

Specifically, Cordero asserted the weight of export containers, as determined by terminal operators, can and should be classified as the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of the container.

Cordero also noted that any VGM compliance regime established under the auspices of a discussion agreement on file at the Federal Maritime Commission that adds burdens to declaring container weights will invite increased scrutiny by the Commission.

“There is a course to SOLAS VGM compliance provided by the Coast Guard that is not only not burdensome, it requires no additional action at all. Why anyone would add procedures, requirements and costs to doing business is not only puzzling, it raises the specter of anticompetitive behavior and necessitating Commission action,” said Cordero. “Using the weight taken at the terminal gate for the purposes of satisfying the need for a verified weight of a container is a simple and efficient solution for assuring the continued smooth flow of export cargoes.”

Furthermore, Cordero insisted carriers should not only accept weights determined by terminal operators for complying with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendment that mandates providing verified container weights, but the shipping lines should also streamline the transmission of the information.

Cordero expressed frustration that with the SOLAS VGM implementation date looming, uncertainty remains as to what will be expected of shippers.

Source: FMC

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