Importance of declaring the correct cargo weight

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Misdeclaration of container weights has been an issue that has been going on for a long time and has plagued many a shipping line, ship and port operators..

In a recent article, I wrote about the basics of container stowage planning and why it is so important..

In this article, I thought it would be worth reiterating the importance of being accurate in the declaration of the weights..

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What do the markings on a container mean..??

markings on a Container Door

The ubiquitous freight or shipping container has become an integral part of our lives not just if you are in the industry handling and moving these containers from point to point, but for all the businesses and industries that use the container..

It has been universally hailed as one of the greatest inventions of the modern world, one that completely changed the way in which business has been done since the 20th century and really and truly made the world a smaller place and the one true architect of Globalisation..

Exporters, importers, traders, packing houses, ports, customs, border authorities, police, clearing agents, freight forwarders, stevedores, hauliers, weighbridges ……………………….. and many more entities involved in a trade transaction may be seeing and handling a container on a daily basis..

But although many of these people see a container not everyone understands the many markings on a container..

The markings on a container play a very significant role in the movement of the container as they provide vital information to all entities in the supply chain relating to the monitoring and safety of the container and cargo during its carriage..

Let us look at each of the markings on a container individually using an example below..

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Scale-less weighing of containers for SOLAS VGM

scale-less weighing

SOLAS VGM – probably a term which may have slipped many people’s minds as it seems to have successfully integrated itself into the mainstream container shipping process since its mandatory implementation in July 2016.. Now it seems to be back, but in a good way though..

In July 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a mandatory requirement which required all shipping containers to be weighed and the weight information (Verified Gross Mass) be provided to the shipping lines as part of the SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea convention) Chapter VI Regulation 2..

This requirement came on the back of continued misdeclaration of weights by shippers many of which resulted in incidents at sea causing loss of property and/or lives..

The regulation allowed shippers to provide the VGM to the carriers using two different methods

  1. Weigh the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment like a weighbridge to get the VGM
  2. Weigh the cargo, dunnage, lashing material and add the tare weight of the container to get the VGM

Although there has not been any real comments or incidents relating to the misdeclaration of weights after the implementation of the SOLAS VGM regulation in 2016, it has been reported that shipping industry has been struggling with Method 1, as physically weighing every shipping container requires significant efforts and costly, space-consuming scales..

Well, it seems there is a solution for that..

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Said to Contain clause – should it be allowed or not..??

Said To Contain

We all have seen the clause SAID TO CONTAIN or STC in a Bill of Lading issued for an FCL shipment.. What does it mean and should the Said To Contain clause be allowed or not..??

Join the discussion in this article on whether the Said To Contain clause should be allowed or not in the bill of lading and if you are a carrier that is not showing the Said To Contain on your bill of lading, how do you protect yourself from possible claims relating to shortage of cargo..

Are the clauses Said To Contain and Shipper’s Load Stow and Count interchangeable..??

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Is the ship register or ship registry liable for containers falling off a ship..??

YM Efficiency - shipping and freight resource

As you may have read, I recently wrote about “Containers lost at sea, why it happens, what to do when it happens and also about What is a ship register or ship registry..

Recent news reports of 83 containers falling off a ship off the coast of Australia in heavy seas seems to have triggered a question in the minds of some people Is the ship register or ship registry liable for containers falling off a ship..??

When reading the news articles about this incident, I noticed something very interesting in the way in which the general public and the shipping fraternity identify a ship, its markings and the areas of concern.. 🙂

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8 points to consider before you sign a bill of lading

points to consider before you sign a bill of lading

To the casual onlooker, signing a bill of lading may be a routine, day to day mundane job done by many people across the world.. But the fact is that there are several technicalities to be considered before signing a bill of lading..

It is important to understand that the person signing the bill of lading acknowledges the details recorded on the bill of lading.. Any bill of lading signed with the knowledge of misrepresented facts may be considered to be a fraudulent document and may result in legal consequences for the signatory..

If you are a bill of lading signatory, here are 8 points that you need to consider before signing a bill of lading.. It may be a bit of a long read, but worth it.. 🙂

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Containers lost at sea..!!!! Why it happens and what to do when it happens..

containers lost at sea

As part of global trade, in 2016, approximately 130 million containers packed with cargo with an estimated value of more than $4 trillion were shipped around the world..

As per the University College London’s Energy Institute and data visualisation firm Kiln more than 50,000 merchant ships travel high seas, moving goods and commodities all over the place..

With so many containers on the move in many different routes, there are bound to be some containers lost at sea..

We examine the causes, what may prevent it and what to do when your container actually is lost at sea..

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5 points to consider before packing your cargo

points to consider before packing your cargo

If you are an exporter and especially if you are exporting for the first time, you should have a checklist of points to consider before packing your cargo..

Here are 5 main points you should consider before packing your cargo..

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Issues due to lack of understanding of transport requirements

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On this blog and many others, the issues surrounding VGM (I can hear people say “yawn”) and its relationship or requirement for safety has been discussed at length.. Even though it has been repeated several times, it is no yawning matter and it seems that there is still a lack of basic understanding of the weights used in a container, … Read more here..

To Tare or not to Tare – Should the VGM match the Bill of Lading Weight..??

A burning question that is circulating currently in the container industry is whether the Tare Weight of a container should be included in the weight shown in the Bill of Lading or not and whether the SOLAS VGM should match the Bill of Lading weight..

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