Shippers to observe the Verified Gross Mass on all packed containers

All shippers will be directed to observe the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) on all packed containers. The shipper will be responsible for obtaining and documenting the VGM of the packed container cargoes under the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) proposed revised guidelines on the implementation of mandatory weighing of export containers.

The shippers referred to in the revised policy is the “legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. “through” bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company”.

Without the VGM, the container will not be loaded onto the ship. The policy proposes two methods by which the shipper may obtain the VGM of a packed container:

Method 1 – Weighing: Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment.
Method 2 – Calculating: The sum of single masses = mass of cargo items + all packages + container tare weight

In case of discrepancies between the declared gross mass and the VGM obtained in the port’s facility/ies, the latter should be used to resolve.  Above 1.5 metric tons weight discrepancy shall be deemed misdeclared and shut out. Moreover, a record of any undeclared weight above 5 MT may be a basis for possible prosecution under land transport regulations of misdeclared weights for the purpose of improved safety.

The proposed revision is said to be an enforcement of the SOLAS requirement in promoting the safety of people, assets, and the marine environment.  Also, to prescribe and delineate the responsibility of PPA, terminal operators, cargo handling operators, weighbridge operators, shipping lines, exporters, and shippers. This was presented during the virtual PPA public consultation on 18 January 2021. KJDA

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