Container weighing services debut in Nigeria
In accordance with the International Maritime Organization’s Safety Of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Regulations, APM Terminals Apapa Limited and West Africa Container Terminal have put in place controls to ensure containers loaded with a shipping line for export has a valid Verified Gross Mass (VGM).
The General Manager, Communication and Sustainability, APM Terminals, Nigeria Augustine Fischer, in a statement said the company has established SOLAS compliant Electronic Data Interchange capabilities with the shipping lines in Nigeria to share VGM information prior to vessel loading planning and also has its weighing instruments verified by the department of weights and measures of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The International Maritime organization (IMO), the agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating international seaborne trade, on 1st July 2016 commenced the enforcement of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention which will require verification and documentation of loaded containers before they can be loaded onto vessels.
This, according to Fischer can be accomplished by either weighing the loaded container with calibrated and certified equipment, or weighing the cargo prior to loading and adding it to the tare weight of the empty container.
The purpose of the VGM regulations is to assure safety of the vessel, as well as dockworkers and other cargo handlers by preventing overweight or otherwise misrepresented containers from jeopardizing shipments or container movements.
The Head of Global Operations, APM Terminals, Jack Craig, said: “Our first priority remains to ensure safe and efficient operations for the supply chain,”
He added: “It is crucial that these regulations are met in a way which does not create congestion bottlenecks that ultimately impose additional risk and cost for all stakeholders”.
He further explained that: “Export containers which arrive at APM Terminal facilities without a valid VGM will be generally accepted, but as they are ineligible to load on a vessel, may be segregated and subject to additional re-handling and storage requirements.”
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