Knowing the accurate gross mass of a packed container is critical to ensure correct stowage and stacking and avoid collapse of container stacks or loss overboard. Thus, on 1 July 2016, new requirements to verify the gross mass (VGM) of a packed container enter into force under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). This is an important safety measure adopted by International Maritime Organization (IMO), which aims at saving lives and preventing injury and the destruction of property.
However, the implementation and enforcement of the SOLAS convention within some of the APEC economies have encountered different levels of challenges amongst the different stakeholders such as shippers, truckers, railway, terminal operators, and shipping lines in the intermodal supply chain. Some of those challenges include confusion as to who is responsible for providing the VGM, when is the VGM information required, and who is responsible for the extra costs and delays in the system.
Therefore, in response to the call of APEC Connectivity Blueprint for 2015-2025 which was agreed by the APEC Leaders, Chines Taipei is proposing this study to reduce trade costs across supply chains and to improve supply chain reliability and connectivity in supporting the competitiveness of business in the APEC region.
This study intends to review how a safety related operational policy (SOLAS VGM) caused unintended impact / consequence to the intermodal container supply chain network. The study will review the issues and challenges faced by the relevant stakeholders in complying with the new rules and hope to capture and share some best practices and strategies for various government regulatory agency to implement and monitor the new SOLAS VGM rules and for the industry to comply with the new rules without causing excessive delay in the system.
The scope of this study will focus on the current VGM practices (method 1 and method 2) for intermodal container movement between the deep sea port and inland transportation network (which includes international river ports in APEC region). Regulatory impact analysis model (including a clarification on who is responsible for damage and loss of cargoes is also to be discussed by reviewing SOLAS regulations) proposed by OECD is employed to discuss the negative and positive impacts of VGM on major stakeholders. In addition, indicators to measure the performance of different VGM practices will be established. Literature review, interview and questionnaire survey through public and private container shipping stakeholders in the APEC economies will be used for collecting the data. All research findings and recommendations will be documented and shared widely in the APEC economies.
In order to solicit more input, share best VGM practices, recommend policy and strategy, and provide capacity-building support in the APEC region, there is a possible phase 2 (workshop) depending on the result of phase 1 (self-funded study).