On July 1st of 2016, a new global regulation of the “Safety of Life At Sea” convention (SOLAS) will come into effect. The Dominican Republic is a signatory state of this very important international treaty. Chapter VI, part A, regulation 2, requires that before loading on a vessel, all export containers must have a declared verified gross mass (VGM). In other words, they must be individually weighted.
The main objective of this measure is to avoid the catastrophic marine accidents that have occurred in the recent past, guarantying the safe navigation of ships with a precise and planned distribution of the containers weights on the vessel. If we want our nation to sustain and exceed its current level of exports, and achieve the goal of becoming a regional logistics center, it is absolutely necessary to comply with this new regulation.
In order to complete an efficient implementation process, aligned with this SOLAS regulation, the National Shippers Association (ANRD) has been working closely with the main container terminals of Haina and Caucedo, which have committed to enabling the validation and certification of VGM services at the ports. To reach this goal, the terminals are investing significant amount of resources on scales and weighbridges, systems integration and the addition of operational staff with a 24 hours working schedule.
In order to comply with this new regulation, the following new processes will apply:
- VGM Validation by the Terminal
This service consists of weighting the container and validating that the VGM declared by the exporter is within the tolerance limits established of 1000 kg / container. The cost will be US $ 5.00 / container + ITBIS (VAT).
The terminal will validate the VGM declared by the exporter of any container for which it received the information prior to arrival at the port. The VGM information will be received electronically from the exporter, shipping line or agent using the formats previously agreed between the parties.
The SOLAS regulation requires that the scales or weighbridges used to determine the VGM comply with all local regulations for commercial weighing. In the case of the Dominican Republic, in order for the VGM to be valid, it must be determined in a scale certified by the Instituto Dominicano de Calidad (INDOCAL). All exporters must confirm to the terminal the use of a certified scale either directly, through its agent or shipping line, as agreed by the parties . (Electronic copy of INDOCAL Certificate).
- VGM Certification by the Terminal
This service consists of weighting the container, issuance of a VGM certificate on behalf of the exporter, and forwarding the information electronically (EDI) to the exporter, agent or shipping line as agreed between the parties. The cost will be US $ 50.00 / Container + ITBIS (VAT).
The terminal will certify the VGM in the following cases:
a) When the exporter, agent or shipping line request the weight certification service at the port.
b) When a container arrives to the terminal without previously confirming its VGM.
c) When during the process of validation (point 1), a difference superior to the 1000 kg tolerance is confirmed between the weight recorded in the port, and the original VGM declared by the exporter, agent or shipping line.
d) When an export container is partially loaded/emptied inside the terminal and later re- sealed.
e) When a shipping line request the weighting of a transshipment container.
- Validation and Certification Service Charges
All services related to validation and certification of containers will be invoiced to the exporter. Services to consolidated containers will be billed to the freight forwarder, and the services requested by the shipping lines will be billed to them. Terminals will invoice directly or through authorized third parties. Methods and terms of payment will be communicated soon.
- Weighbridges at Ports
Containers in ports shall be weighed using weighbridges. All weighbridges have been certified in compliance with the regulations issued by the INDOCAL.
- Point of Contact for all Matters Related to VGM.
Each terminal will issue a document with contact information.