US shippers want existing container weight rules unchanged #comercioexterior #argentina #container

A group of 49 shippers associations and supply chain stakeholders is calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to leave unchanged the existing processes for finding and transmitting cargo weight information.

The group, led by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, is rejecting the idea their employers need to provide their name to certify the verified gross mass of a container. The shippers are pushing the U.S. Coast Guard to stick by its interpretation of the Safety of Life at Sea, or SOLAS, convention that the container weight mandate is not mandatory and that existing practices are sufficient to meet the requirements of the regulation scheduled to take effect July 1.

The rule says carriers and terminal operators cannot legally load a container onto a ship without the VGM document acquired via either Method 1 or Method 2 as prescribed by the International Maritime Organization. It also calls for the supplying of VGM information signed by the shipper, which the letter signers have rejected, saying they will not assume liability for the weight of equipment over which they have no control or oversight.

“Specifically, we support the admiral’s view that if the shipper provides the cargo mass weight, to which the carrier adds the weight of the container, then the intent of SOLAS is achieved,” the associations wrote in letter signed by the California Trucking Association, the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association, and a number of smaller regional shippers associations. “In fact, several ocean carrier executives have advised that such a process would be practical.”

The associations said their primary concern is the requirement of their members to certify the weight of both the cargo and the container. They likened that to mandating a soybean shipper certify to a railroad the weight of one of its own railcars.

The creation of additional processes and costs to comply with the VGM mandate would especially disadvantage U.S. exporters of agricultural products, who have already lost market share, the associations said. The strong dollar has put increasing pressure on this group of exporters.

The provision of accurate cargo weight data to ocean carriers is well-established practice, the associations said, citing a number of rules, laws and practices. For example, highways throughout the U.S. and railroads have their own maximum weight requirement, while U.S. Customs and Border Protection mandates the provision of gross cargo weights. A 1983 rule of the Occupation Safety and Health Administration mandated the provision of the accurate weight of cargo and container to be provided to a carrier before loading.

The shipping community’s quest for answers from the Coast Guard on the VGM rule has grown more urgent since JOC’s 16th Annual TPM Conference at the beginning of March, where the Coast Guard said that providing a VGM was not mandatory, which conflicts with the wider understanding of the rule by the shipping public.

The World Shipping Council, which represents around 90 percent of global container capacity, questioned how this could be so when the Coast Guard was instrumental in the creation of the rule and at no time voiced any objections or concerns about the matter.

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Publicado 15 marzo, 2016 por Faba Expres - Argentina - en Argentina