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SOLAS Update – What To Expect

July 14, 2016

According to most global supply chain reports, the implementation of the July 1 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) weighing rule has gone smoothly from an operational perspective. However, the application of additional fees has varied widely and remains unpredictable as supply chain partners continue to access the previously unknown cost of compliance. In total, 162 Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) member countries are parties to the convention and are subject to its requirements.

Following is a list of typical examples of charges imposed by service providers internationally:

  • To fulfill SOLAS requirements in Argentina, the following steps must take place:
  1. Packing at the shipper’s residence.
  2. Transportation to agent’s warehouse. Once at the warehouse, the agent will unload the entire shipment, weigh it, and hold the shipment at its warehouse until an Export Permit is issued by Argentine Customs.
  3. Transportation to fiscal warehouse.
  4. Unload the entire shipment in the fiscal warehouse for an intensive inspection.
  5. Weigh the shipment again at the fiscal warehouse to obtain an Official Weight Certificate from customs that will need to match the terminal’s weight certificate.
  6. Load the final container and send to port.

To compensate for the additional manpower required, the supplier partner in this illustration will impose a new SOLAS Fee per container: 20 ft. Container – USD $350; 40 ft. Container – USD $500; and 40 ft. HC Container – USD $600.

  • An ocean carrier will charge VGM administration fee of $15 per document for all exports from China.
  • A global terminal operator will impose a charge of € 1 in the UK and Ireland for VGMs provided prior to arrival of the container and € 3 if VGM is provided after container’s arrival but before the 24 hour cut-off time.
  • In an African port, an ocean carrier will weigh containers at a cost of $70 per TEU and $140 per FEU as a service to shippers that have not been able to generate the VGM.

We do expect that the majority of VGM service providers will act ethically and will only charge for the actual services provided to the shipper at reasonable prices that reflect the cost of providing those services. Arpin will remain vigilant to ensure that all invoices are transparent and any additional fees are justified. Should you have any questions, please contact your Arpin International Group Move Coordinator.