SOLAS and ACE Updates

We are watching two important topics in the shipping industry: SOLAS and ACE. Both have an impact not only how we prepare your cargo, but how we work with you to ensure your shipment moves seamlessly, as expected, to meet your supply chain requirements.

The most recent updates are below. We’ll keep you informed as we see and hear more on these two important topics. As always, if you have questions, contact us directly.

ACE:   U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s new Automated Commercial EnvironmentACE (ACE) is designed to streamline import and export documentation moving it from a paper system to a computer portal using “the single window” concept. Implementation is staggered through May.

Our freight forwarding partners throughout the U.S. continue to work through the details. Last week the National Customs Broker & Forwarders Association of America provided insight on containers traveling through Canadian ports with a U.S. destination. Cargo Service Diana Kepler, licensed customs broker, explains the rules regarding Cargo Release Rail Manifest as impacted by ACE:

“Shipping multiple containers on one ocean carrier bill of lading through Canadian ports now requires single container entries for U.S. Customs clearance. When multiple containers arrive at the port that will be moved to trains with different destinations, U.S. Customs now requires separate clearance for each container.”

SOLAS MandateSOLAS:  The SOLAS (Safety of Life of Sea) mandate, effective July 1, requires shippers to give carriers the Verified Gross Mass (weight) of each onboarding container using one of two methods: by weighing the container after it is loaded and sealed or weighing each individual package and cargo item and adding the tare weight of the container to the sum of the single masses. These are known as Method 1 and Method 2 and neither are necessarily the means that container weights are derived today.

There are no current industry standards/regulations on declared weight for containers traveling by ocean. As the industry works through details, the basic question at ports is: to weigh or not to weigh? We are keeping up with these decisions to ensure our client’s know the rules and impact to their shipments. To date, partners overseas have not commented on the rule.

  • Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach terminal association says that due to lack of terminal infrastructure, their 13 terminals are incapable of providing VGM, to adhere to the SOLAS guidelines. The terminals say individual member terminals will establish and communicate their own policies. They are suggesting shippers obtain VGM prior to the containers arrival at their terminals.
  • Virginia Port Authority says it will comply with the SOLAS container weight rule, but it won’t accept containers without the VGM declaration, in order to do so. The port will not offer container weight services.
  • Containers loaded at Cargo Services will have each pallet or piece weighed and loaded into the container. We will add the weight of the materials used to block and brace the cargo into the container plus the tare weight of the container to get the total VGM.
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