New Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) container verified gross mass (VGM) regulations will be implemented in July. Global marine services company Strain-stall, part of British provider of marine engineering services James Fisher & Sons, has launched a White Paper to chart a pathway to compliance and assist in clarifying technical, commercial and cost-effective options to assist those affected by the new rules.
The amended SOLAS rules require – with no exceptions – that shipping containers must have their VGM declared before stowage on any vessel. Strainstall’s White Paper outlines the pitfalls and the options and opportunities for compliance for the world’s ports, terminals and cargo handling industries.
While the shipper is ultimately responsible for VGM declaration, ports and terminals are the natural environment for con-tainer VGM solutions to be implemented, as packed con-tainers are processed as part of normal operations.
Strainstall explains that, although the shipper is respon-sible for declaring the packed container weight, a failure to do so will be disruptive and costly to operations, while the provision of this service by the ports and terminals will provide a very clear opportunity for additional value-add commercial service.
The paper describes a range of viable solutions that are avail-able for cost-effective retrofit integration on existing assets, including the full range of con-tainer handling equipment, from reach stackers and real-time gross settlement systems to straddle carriers.
Although the precise nature of VGM equipment and certifica-tion requirements are still to be fully defined and may well vary between jurisdictions, the paper describes Strainstall’s accuracy-led approach, focused on what the company believes to be the most likely worst case scenario for implementation. This provides the opportunity for those port and terminal operators, who wish to do so, to gain a level of first mover advantage.
“Having talked to port and terminal operators, it is clear that they are keen to assist shippers to achieve compliance with the new SOLAS regulations,” commented Strainstall MD Simon Everett.
In publishing the White Paper, the company’s aim is to clarify the technical and commercial options available, and present recommendations as to how – despite the regulatory uncertainties over certification and accuracy requirements – it can assist port and terminal operators to plan now for cost-effective, robust and accurate solutions. This will also enable com-panies to offer a weighing service to their customers ahead of the implementation of these new regulations.
Strainstall adds that it has developed the Container Weight System (CWS) – a real-time con-tainer weight verification system that supports terminal operators with International Maritime Organisation SOLAS compliance.
The CWS was developed in response to ports and terminals’ industry needs, to accurately verify container weights and identify eccentric loading conditions.
James Fisher & Sons produced a detailed White Paper as an objective assessment of the key issues facing regulators and port and terminal operators in the implementation of robust and cost-effective solutions for accurate, repeatable and seamless inte-gration of weight verification technology.
The CWS integrates industry-standard twist locks and components with the company strain gauge technology and instrumentation to create an accurate load measurement solution. It is easily retrofitted, requiring no modi- fications, nor is there a need to make any alterations to an existing spreader arrangement.