China issues guidelines to SOLAS container weight rule

China will conduct random inspections on export containers at the country’s ports from July 1 according to long-awaited industry guidelines issued by the Ministry of Transport. It stated that vessels and terminals could not load a container for which the verified gross mass, or VGM, had not been received.

Any discrepancy between the VGM declared by the shipper and the VGM obtained by maritime agencies, vessels, carriers or terminal operators must be within plus or minus 5 percent or 1 ton. The agency can request the shipper that signed the VGM declaration again verify the container's gross mass. The guidelines requested the shipper, the carrier and its agencies and the terminal operator cooperate in this area.

The China guidelines went over the SOLAS regulation governing the weighing of containers for which the shipper is responsible: Method 1, which calls for weighing the loaded and sealed export container, and Method 2, where each piece of cargo in the box was weighed and the total added to the packaging used, the pallets, the securing material and the actual weight of the box itself, known as the tare weight.