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IMO Set to Implement SOLAS Requirements; FMC Responds to Congressional Information Request.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced that while there will be no delay in the July 1, 2016, implementation of the verified gross mass (VGM) amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), countries would be permitted to take a “practical and pragmatic approach” when enforcing the requirements for a period of three months.

Meanwhile, Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Chairman Mario Cordero responded to a letter from Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-SD), requesting that FMC immediately examine the implications of the VGM amendment to SOLAS for U.S. shippers and the nation’s supply chain. In the letter, Thune underscored concerns raised by stakeholders, who note the VGM amendment could result in the backup of cargo at U.S. ports as soon as the amendment takes effect, and requested that FMC schedule a briefing with the Committee to discuss its findings.

Chairman Cordero expressed similar concerns raised by Thune, and said the FMC will formally respond to the senator’s request about the VGM amendment’s impact by mid-June. Cordero mentioned FMC staff held a preliminary meeting with Senate Commerce Committee staff on May 31 to discuss general issues regarding the VGM requirements, and will provide a more detailed assessment of the amendment’s implications, along with recommended courses of action, in a subsequent briefing.

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