Written originally for Torrey in Spanish –> original article.
The SOLAS treaty is an international maritime safety convention. It is regulated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of the United Nations (UN).
The SOLAS treaty is frequently amended. New mandatory regulations applicable to shippers were published on 1 July 2016.
In this latest update, the regulations require each shipper of a bill of lading to verify the gross weight of all containers before loading them onboard a vessel. A third party may also carry out weighing on behalf of the shipper.
Previously, it was sufficient to declare the weight of the containers. However, due to discrepancies between the declared weight and the actual weight, it is now mandatory to verify the weight of each container shipped.
This regulation aims to improve safety and reduce accidents at sea. These rules are applicable worldwide and require all cargo items to include their tare weight. They must include packing material to arrive at the verified gross mass (VGM). As a result, any margin for estimation is eliminated. This helps the entire supply chain.
All carriers, marine terminal operators, consolidators, and even ship operators are responsible for its implementation.
The IMO through the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) and the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) are some bodies involved in the development and implementation of verification programs.
The impact of the SOLAS treaty on carriers and logistics companies
The SOLAS treaty may seem simple, but it has practical considerations for shipping companies that include the following:
- The weight of each container must be determined before loading onto the ocean vessel.
- The container can be weighed after packing. However, the cargo must include all tare contents.
- The shipper is responsible for weighing each container in the shipment using calibrated and certified weighing equipment. This is usually done on truck scales.
- The weight verification must comply with the SOLAS requirement and must be duly signed by the carrier’s representative indicating that the weight has been accurately verified.
- If the weight is not signed before arrival at the port, the container must be weighed at the port.
- A full container that is weighed at the port is used to plan the stowage on the vessel.
- All vessel stowage uses the verified weights for all containers loaded on board.
Best shipping practices to avoid errors
All weighing equipment used by the shipper or third-party service provider must be certified and calibrated. Hence, the importance of having either a portable or fixed truck scale from a reliable brand.
If you hire a third party, you must ensure that they have the necessary expertise to avoid re-weighing and re-classification while ensuring compliance with national freight regulations.
If you are a carrier, when you use truck scales, you avoid data entry errors and overloading your unit. Truck scales also offer additional protection against accidental damage resulting from external forces.
Auditing the bill of lading helps you ensure that there are no misclassification errors.
SOLAS-compliant weighing equipment options
Shipping companies must invest in certified and calibrated equipment for accurate weighing and verification of shipping containers.
Weighing equipment can vary depending on your operation. They can be a pit, ramp, or portable truck scale.
Each type of truck scale is capable of accurately determining the gross weight of packed containers and cargo items.
The important thing is that the scale you purchase meets SOLAS treaty specifications. It must also suit your commercial requirements.
Choosing the right manufacturer
Investing in a truck scale is not a task that you should take lightly. Do your research, and find a supplier that offers a suitable solution for years to come.
You should get the best product for your money. First, decide which model is a good fit for your operation. This depends on your regular truck sizes and company logistics. Accuracy is a must, since here is where you can lose money fast. Lastly, look for certifications. Brands that have certifications, like SOLAS are companies committed to quality because they spend quite some money to undergo the certification process of every truck scale model produced.
TORREY truck scales
Truck scales are rugged and highly reliable for a wide range of applications. They are used in agriculture and mining applications, and also in transportation and logistics.
There are different models of truck scales and various capacities. What is important is that they are accurate. Many of them can be seamlessly integrated with software solutions for instant weighing. This also allows you to share electronic data with other applications, and avoid interpreted data errors.
We have talked a lot about the need to have control over the weight of the goods you transport. Not only to make sure you don’t lose money but also to comply with regulations. If your business is related to container transport and maritime logistics, you are obliged to comply with the SOLAS treaty.
The SOLAS treaty includes a series of standards and approvals that guarantee that the weighing components of a truck scale are legally authorized. In other words, they meet accepted standards for commercial activities.
TORREY truck scales are designed and built in such a way that they comply with all SOLAS treaty requirements.
Contact your Torrey consultant to learn about the different models of truck scales available and which one is best suited to your business dynamics.