The SOLAS Amendments
Is the supply chain ready for the SOLAS Amendments?
Overweight containers can lead to damage to handling equipment and other containers; to stacks collapsing, ships capsizing or sinking; and ultimately to loss of life. Even the under-declaration of weights that are still within permitted limits can cause problems in relation to the stowage plan of a container ship.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has issued amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), to regulate the declaration of weight in relation to packed containers. From 1 July 2016, shippers must provide a verified container weight; otherwise the container must not be loaded to the vessel for carriage unless the port terminal operator first verifies the weight.
These requirements are not completely new – shippers already have to declare weights. The main differences in the SOLAS amendments are:
- the need for those weights to be verified, and
- the penalties for failure to comply with the requirements of SOLAS (a fine and/or up to two years’ imprisonment).