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Improved safety for ships and their crews from 1 July 2016

It is now compulsory to verify and confirm the gross mass of containers prior to onboard stowage (Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2). Starting 1 July 2016, containers without verification may no longer be loaded. This applies to containers with both hazardous and non-hazardous materials.

What are the consequences of the new SOLAS guidelines?

The practical interpretation and application of the SOLAS regulations are described in a circular letter (MSC.1/Circular 1475). For example, the shipper is always responsible for verifying the gross mass of containers. The shipper must also ensure that the shipping company is informed of the verified gross mass sufficiently in advance. In the following, we briefly explain the most important terms used in the SOLAS guidelines:

Shipper (2.1.12): Shipper means a legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. "through" bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company.

Gross mass(2.1.6): Gross mass means the combined mass of a container's tare mass and the masses of all packages and cargo items, including pallets, dunnage and other packing material and securing materials packed into the container.

Verified gross mass (2.1.16): Verified gross mass means the total gross mass of a packed container as obtained by one of the methods described in paragraph 5.1 of the SOLAS guidelines. The shipper is responsible for obtaining and documenting the verified gross mass of a packed container. It must inform the shipping company sufficiently in advance of the verified actual gross mass. The container may not be loaded until this has been done.

You can find the detailed SOLAS guidelines as well as further information in the following documents:

Merkblatt Komitee Deutscher Seehafenspediteure: Übersicht über die IMO-Vorschriften

Guidelines issued by IMO International Maritime Organization (MSC.1/Circ. 1475)

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