The introduction of the requirement for declaring the VGM is being mandated by the International Maritime Organisation who in turn are responsible for Safety of Lives At Sea (SOLAS). In New Zealand, Maritime New Zealand is responsible for enforcing and ensuring compliance of this new requirement and may monitor shippers and introduce penalties for non-compliance.
Shippers (the party named on the Bill of Lading) are responsible for providing or ensuring that this data is supplied to the Port AND the Shipping Line. There are two methods approved to obtain the verified weight ;
1. Weighing the full container (including content)
2. Determining the weight of the cargo by calculation - full details are available from Maritime New Zealand (see attached) then adding the tare weight of the container to the cargo weight.
For whichever method chosen, the device used to calculate the verified weight, must have a current certification under the Weights and Measures Act 1987.
Ports advise that they will be adopting a position of "no VGM – No Load". In practice this means that the VGM must be supplied to the Port and Shipping company before the container arrives at the wharf gate or 4 hours before the ship arrives in port (whichever is the greater). This applies to all forms of delivery – road, rail or transshipments. Ports may offer weighing facilities at inland ports only.
No updates to VGM after delivery to the Port will be allowed. It is recognised that the data will be delivered in a number of formats initially. The goal is to achieve 100% e-messaging. Discussions are being held with a number of parties to address IT issues. It is accepted that the submission of a VGM will be provided by the authorised person. No signature will need to be transmitted electronically. It is the responsibility of the shipper to nominate the authorised person and record the method of determining the weight.
Carriers will be making the ‘Tare’ weight of all their containers available on their respective websites and are working with lease companies to achieve the same availability of information for leased containers.
Issues are being working through for containers delivered to conventional wharves, out of gauge cargo, break-bulk cargoes and containers delivered via coastal shipping.
Industry does not and will not recommend one weighing product/mechanism over another. The only requirement is that the equipment complies with NZ’s regulations for Weights and Measures.