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FMC Approves Discussion Agreement on Container Weight Requirement

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Federal Maritime Commission unanimously approved June 27 a new discussion agreement that it said will guarantee shippers a flexible approach to meet pending requirements to provide the verified gross mass of loaded maritime cargo containers at six U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports. The agreement will take effect before the July 1 implementation date of the VGM requirement under the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea treaty.

The Port Operations and Safety Discussion Agreement will permit six port authorities in Georgia, Houston, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to take the weight of a container determined at a terminal gate and report it to an ocean carrier to satisfy the VGM requirement. Parties will be able to exchange information, discuss and reach voluntary, non-binding agreement on matters relating to rules, procedures, programs, practices, terms and conditions with respect to the organization, development, calculation, availability, transmission or use of VGM data. FMC Chairman Mario Cordero expressed hope that this agreement will inspire other port authorities and terminal operators to “establish their own innovative processes to ease SOLAS VGM compliance.”

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