Shipping Container Ship

Adjustments to SOLAS rules in July mean shippers must accurately state the weight of all containers transported over the seas prior to shipping

New rules regarding cargo weight certification are easy to follow with Inscale’s wide selection of weighing balances and accessories.

Implemented in July, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) amendment requires that shippers and carriers must declare and document accurate weights of all shipping containers before they are loaded on ships. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) oversees the SOLAS convention, and decided to make changes following some serious accidents involving overloaded or improperly packed cargo transport vessels.

History of SOLAS

Following the April 1912 sinking of the Titanic, the first version of SOLAS was passed in 1914. The passenger ship was seriously damaged after colliding with an iceberg in the freezing water, and sank within three hours, killing more than 1,500. That version provided requirements for emergency equipment, safety drills, continuous radio watches, and specified the number of lifeboats necessary based on passenger counts. An International Ice Patrol was established to monitor icebergs in the North Atlantic shipping lanes. Due to the start of World War I, the 1914 version never took effect, but a later version was adopted in 1929.

New changes to SOLAS

The revisions adopted in July 2016 mandate that the VGM (verified gross mass) now is required for containers and goods before they can be loaded onto ships. There are two ways to meet the weighing requirements, and both must be performed using scales that are calibrated and certified to the national standards of the country where the weighing takes place.

Method 1 requires that shippers weigh the entire loaded container.

Method 2 requires that shippers separately weigh everything placed inside the container, including cartons, crates, pallets, and materials used to pack and secure the contents. The weights are totaled and added to the weight of the empty container to arrive at the VGM.

According to SOLAS, scales and balances must meet certification and calibration standards issued by the country in which the scale is operated. In the United States, the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) oversees the approval process of weighing instruments. In Europe and other countries, compliance is regulated by groups such as Measurement Canada, International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), and European Commission (EC).

To help shippers and carriers comply with SOLAS rules, Inscale offers a selection of weighing scales and balance equipment, including pallet beam scales, crane scales, platform scales and floor scales.

Adam AELP pallet beams and GK indicator

AELP Pallet Weigh Beams
AELP Pallet Beams 

Capacity: 1,000kg to 2,000kg
Readability: 0.2kg to 0.5kg

AELP offers fast, precise mobile weighing, along with many other features suited for industrial environments. Ideal for measuring oversized items, AELP pallet beams are outfitted with rugged built-in wheels and handles, making them easy to move. Enclosed channels with high-quality load cells provide accurate, repeatable measurements and are built to withstand demanding weighing tasks. GK indicator offers simple operation and comes with a wall bracket for easy, secure mounting. The GK housing is constructed of ABS plastic, while a backlit LCD features large digits and capacity tracker. AELP beams are equipped with approximately five meters of shielded cable, allowing the indicator and beams to be positioned flexibly.

Adam IHS industrial crane scale

IHS Crane Scales
IHS Crane Scales 

Capacity: 1,000kg to 10,000kg
Readability: 0.2kg to 2kg

The IHS crance scale offers a strong, safe solution for weighing heavy, suspended loads in industrial settings such as shipping and production operations. Ruggedly constructed, IHS crane scales feature robust metal die-cast housing, plated steel hook and sturdy, oversized shackle. A remote control allows scale operation from a safe distance. LED display readings are highly visible in any lighting conditions, including outdoors. The hold function retains the value on the display after the item is removed from the scale, allowing time for the operator to record the weight.

Kern HCB hanging scale

Kern HCB Hanging Crane Scales
Kern HCB Hanging Crane Scales 

Capacity: 2kg to 2000kg
Readability: 50g to 500g

With its sturdy stainless steel hooks, the HCB hanging scale is ideal for weighing suspended loads up to 200kg. The top hook is a steel snap link (carabiner-type) and the lower hook is an open S-shape, making it easy to attach loads. A hold function keeps the reading showing on the scale while the figures are recorded. The HCB comes complete with battery, so it is easily portable. An auto power-off function helps save battery life.

Inscale IPS platform scale

IPS Inscale Platform Scale
IPS Inscale Platform Scale 

Capacity: 180kg
Readability: 50g

The Inscale IPS platform floor and bench scale comes in a single capacity of 180kg and features a base size of 380 x 280mm. The display can be mounted separately from the base on a wall for easy positioning. IPS is powered with a U.K. mains adapter, which is included. Easy to use, the IPS provides fast weighing at an affordable price.

Adam PT platform scale with GK indicator

PT Platform Scales
PT Platform scales 

Capacity: 1,000kg to 4,500kg
Readability: 0.2kg to 1kg

PT industrial platform scales offer durability and quality construction for a variety of weighing needs. The PT features a large, steel base with a diamond-plate surface, adjustable leveling feet and cable. Optional ramps facilitate loading and unloading heavy objects. With full keypad and smart features, GK indicator offers a simple user interface for quick operation. The GK housing is constructed of ABS plastic, while a backlit LCD features large digits and capacity tracker. GK comes with a wall bracket for easy, secure mounting.

Kern DE platform scale

Kern DE-D Platform Scale
Kern DE-D Platform Scale 

Capacity: 3kg to 300kg
Readability: 0.2g to 0.1Kg

The Kern DE platform scales come in capacities up to 300kg and various platform base sizes. The display is detachable from the base for easy positioning, and an optional stand can attach the display to the scale’s base. A rechargeable battery option is available.

Adam GFK floor scale

GFK Floor Checkweighing Scales
GFK Floor Checkweighing Scales 

Capacity: 75kg to 600kg
Readability: 5g to 0.05kg

With a full keypad that simplifies unit weight and sample entry, the GFK floor scale capably performs weighing tasks in industrial settings. A durable stainless steel platform and pillar-mounted ABS plastic indicator make the GFK suitable for most counting and weighing applications. The large backlit display is visible in most environments and lighting conditions, and shows unit weight, total weight and number of pieces.

Related Links

International Maritime Organization

International Chamber of Shipping

Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal

World Shipping Council

European Community Shippers’ Associations

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development