THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is introducing a new rule requiring all shippers or their designated third parties to weigh packed containers or its contents under either of two allowed methods, using equipment that meets national certification and calibration requirements.
SBMA has its own rules implementing the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) on verified gross mass (VGM) and weight estimation of container’s contents is hereafter prohibited.
Under the SOLAS VGM, no container will be loaded onto a vessel if it does not have a VGM starting July 1.
Under the new policy, the shipper may weigh the packed and sealed container with calibrated and certified equipment or weigh each item—including the mass of pallets, dunnage, and other packing and securing materials— to be packed in the container-and adding the tare mass of the container to the total weight of its contents. The latter method needs to be certified and approved by the National Metrology Laboratory of the Philippines (NLMP).
To implement the SOLAS VGM requirement and ensure the efficient and smooth flow of commerce, the Freeport authority advises parties in the supply chain “to make arrangements for the timely transmission and exchange of VGM information.”
Carriers should give shippers cut-off times to provide them the required container weight verification so they can prepare a ship stowage plan. These cut-off times, SBMA noted, may vary depending on the carrier as well as the operational procedures or requirements of different terminal operators.
Moreover, the weighing of a loaded container for export is to be verified by the port terminal operator through its calibrated and certified weighbridge that meets the accuracy standards and requirements of SOLAS VGM and has been approved, certified, and calibrated by the NLMP for non-automatic weighing instruments.
SBMA also requires that a packed container should not exceed the maximum gross mass indicated on the Safety Approval Plate under the IMO’s Convention for Safe Containers, as amended.
A container with a gross mass that exceeds the maximum permitted weight will not be allowed aboard a ship and will also incur shut-out charges, SBMA noted.