Container weight verification

The IMO SOLAS VGM Act – How will it roll out? A South African perspective by Andy Connell

Container weight verification

The IMO SOLAS VGM Act – How will it roll out? A South African perspective
Well here is my perspective.
It can be implemented today even, why wait for the 1st July 2016 or the next maritime disaster?

METHOD 1 is so cost prohibitive it is not even on the table for discussion longer than it takes to compute its cost
impact. (It does remain the most absolute method though).

METHOD 2, by default is the least impact upon logistics and costs.
My crystal ball shows the cargo owner taking one of two routes open…………

The cargo owner makes a booking with their carrier of choice including his best guessed/known/recorded GM which
of course the carrier needs for stack planning (yes heavy equipment is stacked separate from light equipment in the
terminal), vessel planning and to stop taking bookings when the vessel max’s out on stability out volume.
Shipper A) Uses the tare mass of the equipment on the day plus the known gross mass of each pallet.
Cargo owners are already installing a robust accredited scale (weighing device) on the warehouse/production floor
at source of the ISO cargo pallet’s birth.
Thus as it is completed the pallet is weighed and the verified mass entered into the ERP in use as the VGM of that
pallet.
On the allotted day of stuffing the tare mass is read off the csc plate on the left door of the equipment and then
entered into the ERP in use by that cargo owner.
Upon sealing the equipment and dispatching to the port export terminal, the cargo owner (or its representative
agent) will pre-advise NAVIS by sending this data by EDI to the port with the VGM included in the data transmission.
When the SI is submitted via INTTRA (or by EDI) some hours or days later, the new VGM replaces the mass used for
booking, if it differs.

Shipper B) Uses three masses to reach VGM:
 Tare mass of the equipment,
 default mass of the pallets in the equipment as stored in their database,
 and the deduced gross mass of the cargo.
Cargo owner has no accredited scale (weighing device) on the warehouse/production floor at source of the ISO cargo
pallet’s birth.
On the allotted day of stuffing the tare mass is read off the csc plate on the left door of the equipment and then
entered into the ERP in use by that cargo owner.
The VGM of each pallet is acquired by deduction (the GM of each carton and computing the VGM of cargo by carton
characteristics).
For many products this is finite and remains the same and is thus quite a simple process.
For fresh perishable cargo this varies with water content, sugar content, product calibre (sizing) in any particular
month and production area.
Upon sealing the equipment and dispatching to the port export terminal, the cargo owner (or its representative
agent) will pre-advise NAVIS by sending this data by EDI to the port with the VGM included in the data transmission.
When the SI is submitted via INTTRA (or by EDI) some hours or days later, the new VGM replaces the mass used for
booking, if it differs.

All that is still yet required now is for the Maritime Safety Authority to accredit 3rd parties who can demonstrate
provenance that weighing devices are calibrated correctly and that the individual product carton masses are
determined in a realistic manner which can defend the VGM criteria.
This should be in place by the mid-June unless minds are not as sharp as they can be.

In our context down in South Africa, this is made simple because Transnet is the only port landlord and terminal
operator.
This is relevant in that Transnet embraced the NAVIS ERP System as their system of choice.
NAVIS requires the entire booking forms of any vessel to be pre-loaded for better terminal operation planning and
execution, which in turn requires all equipment (containers) to be pre-advised before arrival at the entry gate to the
port.
This means the driver of the truck or the rail car, enters the number of the reference and the optics scanners screen
the container and confirm the number, matching it with the pre-advised entries complimenting the bookings
planned. Access is granted with an instruction on where to go to have the equipment lifted off the chassis and placed in the
correct stack location. The shipping line is not burdened or involved in this process of supplying the VGM, nor is the port terminal. All of this happens BEFORE arrival at the port entry gate. You do not need to ask your shipping line what you must do or how to do it. You not need to ask the port terminal operator how to do it or what to do.
You just pre-advise as before but this time you amend the GM that was on the booking if it differs to the VGM of the
cargo presented for loading.
Andy Connell