What is the governing legislation?

Singapore is a member state to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). As a contracting party to SOLAS, Regulation VI/2 which essentially requires the gross mass of a packed container to be verified by the shipper prior to loading on a ship to be verified via Method 1[1] or Method 2[2] will enter into force on 1 July 2016.

What are the main requirements?

  1. Carrier, Ship master or his representative

The carrier, ship master or his representative are obligated to ensure that containerised cargo without the information on its verified gross mass (“VGM”) are not accepted to be loaded on board the ship.

  1. Terminal Operator

The Terminal operator is obligated not to load on board the ship, local export containerised cargo without information on its VGM. The Terminal operator is also obligated to use the VGM in preparation of the ship stowage plan.

  1. Shipper[3]

The shipper is obligated to obtain the VGM using either Method 1 or Method 2. The shipper is also obligated to record the VGM on the shipping document and submit the same to the Terminal operator and the ship master or his representative sufficiently in advance[4].

Enforcement Authority

The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will enforce these regulations under the Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Regulations. The MPA will conduct ad-hoc inspections from time to time. While the SOLAS Regulations VI/2 does not provide for any margin of error, the MPA will at present allow a negligible margin of error of +/-5% of the VGM.



Singapore ship summary

Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment

[2] Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which the packing of the container was completed

[3] Includes (i) a legal entity or person who is named as the shipper on a bill of lading, sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document; (ii) a legal entity or person in whose name or on behalf a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company, (iii) the owner or exporter of the cargo and (iv) hauliers, freight forwarders or Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) acting on behalf of (i) to (iii)

[4] “Sufficiently in advance” depends on the stakeholders involved

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