One month after SOLAS was officially implemented on July 1st, the entire industry is breathing a sigh of relief that the much-feared disruptions and issues associated with the regulation never came to fruition. However, the new rule has not been without its frustrations.
Our reports from overseas offices include some confusion as to who pays for scaling and whether any VGM related charge is tied to INCOterms. Some carriers are attempting to tack on unjustified VGM charges under vague words like “administration fees” or “services.” We will work with our carriers to contest and prevent additional surcharges. On the USA export side, industry groups have weighed in on the issue by requesting that the FMC step in and head off any charges relating to SOLAS, just as they did with the congestion surcharges in the West Coast last year.
While these issues sort themselves out, whether or not this rule will be successful in improving maritime safety is still up in the air. As Mark Szakonyi of the JOC reports, “only a few countries…are double-checking the accuracy of VGMs, meaning the success of the rule in cracking down on misdeclared weights rests on how honest shippers are and whether carriers will look the other way if they suspect inaccuracies.”
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns!