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SOLAS and What It Means for International Household Goods Shipments 06.26.2016 | Tim McCarney

Although it may be a new term to you, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty has been around since the wake of the Titanic disaster to ensure that all ships are soundly constructed and safe to operate.

The latest SOLAS amendment, created in response to a rise in reports of ships sinking at sea due to under-reported cargo weights, will require all container weights, including contents, to be verified prior to shipping. This amendment goes into effect on July 1, 2016.

In some areas of the world, such as the United States, Canada and most of Europe, gaining access to container scales should not pose a problem. But in certain regions of Asia, Africa and South America, where shipments are typically graded by volume instead of weight, there could be issues.

The Weichert Move Network has been monitoring these developments and strategizing with our move management partners as to how to best address the new regulation once it goes into effect. While there will be a lot written about SOLAS in the coming weeks, there are basically two things our clients and their globally mobile assignees need to be aware of:

  • There is the possibility that it will take longer to pack and load assignees’ household goods for shipping. This is due to the added step of weighing and notating the weight of each container. If declared weights are wrong, containers will not be accepted.
  • There is also the possibility of delays and elongated shipping times if ports experience back-ups in the weighing of containers.

As of now, there is nothing our clients need to do. Our Weichert Move Counselors will communicate this new regulation to your assignees and work with them (along with our mover partners) to set proper expectations and ensure their shipments are accurately weighed and recorded. We will also continue to monitor this situation for further developments and keep you advised.

On a final note, some transportation companies are declaring themselves “SOLAS compliant.” Please be advised that there is no required compliance in regard to SOLAS. It is simply a regulation that all shippers and people shipping items in containers will have to abide by.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact your CSD.

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Written by Tim McCarney

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