New Gross Mass Shipping Container Weight Requirements for 2016

container lowThe International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted new mandatory rules, effective from July 1, 2016, concerning the requirement for shippers to verify the gross mass of a container carrying cargo. According to their website, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was instituted to set international “standards for the construction equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety.”

The rule states: “The rules prescribe two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container:

  • Method 1, upon the conclusion of packing and sealing a container, the shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weigh, the packed container.
  • Method 2, the shipper or, by arrangement of the shipper, a third party may weigh all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material to be packed in the container, and add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses of the container’s contents.
  • In respect of both Method 1 and 2, the weighing equipment used must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the State in which the equipment is being used.”

Compliance goes both ways—U.S. exporters must be compliant and U.S. importers must ensure their customers are compliant. The consequence for non-compliance? Containers without weight specifications will not be loaded onto the ships. Read the FAQ for this new amendment.


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