176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail: EDhand@scspa.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHARLESTON, SC – May 5, 2016 – Last week the U.S. Coast Guard announced its approval for U.S. ports to verify the weight of containers on behalf of the shipper to comply with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, and South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) will provide this weight to the shipper or exporter.
“It has been our position all along that we have employed a best practice in safely loading ships in our port for the last 20 years due to our weighing of all export containers,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA President and CEO. “We applaud the Coast Guard for recognizing this in its recent Declaration of Equivalency to the International Maritime Organization on the SOLAS regulations.”
For many years, SCPA has weighed every export container received at its terminals on calibrated scales consistent with requirements in OSHA regulation 1918.95 (b) (3). SCPA will assist its export shipper customers and the container shipping lines in complying with their obligations under the SOLAS regulations regarding verified gross mass (VGM) of containers effective July 1, 2016.
All scales used to weigh export containers at SCPA’s North Charleston and Wando Welch terminals will be certified annually by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, the competent certification authority in the State of South Carolina. The Port’s current scales were certified in January, 2016.
Upon receipt of a timely request from an export shipper, the Port will provide to the shipper the estimated gross weight of the container and cargo derived in the following way:
On April 29, the United States Coast Guard declared an Equivalency to Regulation VI/2 of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). SCPA commends this important step, the upshot of which recognizes the well-established practice in our port of weighing all export containers consistent with 29 CFR 1918.85 (b) to determine an accurate container and cargo gross weight.
SCPA believes that this gives OCEMA container carrier members using our port a third method to comply with the SOLAS regulations. It provides the benefit of incorporating a tried and true “best practice” for safely handling containers on terminals and loading ships in ports that can provide this service. The Port is willing to collaborate with our ocean carrier customers to achieve such a mutually beneficial solution.
SCPA will utilize the following YMS Weighing Process for Loaded Export Containers: