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U.S. Exporters Won’t be Responsible for Verifying Container Weights

Thursday, March 31, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) last week issued a statement in which it said exporters will not be held legally responsible for verifying the weight of containers when determining the verified gross mass (VGM) under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS). Instead, OCEMA indicated that it is acceptable for shippers to rely upon the tare weight made available by the ocean carrier.

Earlier this month, the Agricultural Transportation Coalition (AgTC), of which NAMI and the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association are members, sent a letter to Admiral Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, to express support for the U.S. Coast Guard’s interpretation of the container weight amendment to SOLAS. The organizations specifically cited the amendment’s flexibility in determining VGM, by allowing the shipper to provide the cargo mass weight to which the carrier would add the container weight—an action that would achieve the intent of SOLAS. The OCEMA position, however, still expects shippers to report the container weight, but does not require them to certify the accuracy of that weight.

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