The Dubai-based owner of Port Metro Vancouver’s Centerm and Prince Rupert’s Fairview container terminals has set a $245 fee for weighing shipping containers that arrive at either terminal without the verified gross mass (VGM) data required under new International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
The SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention amendments, which are aimed at improving containership safety, will require packed shipping containers to have a VGM before they can be loaded on a ship for export.
Accurate container weights are critical to determining how a ship’s cargo is stowed. Mistakes or falsely declared container weights can upset cargo balance and reduce a ship’s seaworthiness.
DP World is thus far the only Port Metro Vancouver container terminal operator that will offer the option of using dockside scales at its terminal.
GTC Canada, which operates PMV’s Vanterm and Deltaport container terminals, said it has no plans to install similar scales at either terminal, in part because, as a GTC representative pointed out, a container’s weight is already required to be identified prior to its arriving at a terminal, “[so] when the new SOLAS regulations come into effect, the responsibility remains with the shipper to verify weight prior to arrival.”
Concerns over the implementation of the new SOLAS container weight requirements have been raised by the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, and shippers organizations such as the Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition (WCSC) have argued that the lack of container scales in the Metro Vancouver area will make it logistically impossible to weigh all the containers that do not have VGM data.
The result, it said, will be further delays in the goods movement supply chain in and out of the port.
Penalties for violating the new weight verification requirements, according to Transport Canada, will range from $600 to $12,000 per infraction.
According DP World’s 2016 tariff data, the VGM weight service at its B.C. terminals will be available starting June 23.
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