Coast Guard Could Delay SOLAS VGM Mandate

While U.S. exporters have voiced serious concerns over the feasibility of complying with the SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) mandate by the implementation deadline, it has now been revealed that the Coast Guard could choose to delay implementation of the mandate for up to a year provided the delay is announced prior to the July 1, 2016 enforcement date.  The decision to delay is not likely to be made unilaterally by the U.S.

Additional complications arise for containers without proper documentation of the VGM based on the vessels’ country flagship.  It seems likely that the Coast Guard will take into consideration the fear that the VGM mandate will put U.S. shippers at a great disadvantage, but they are seeking a clearer understanding of how this new weighing process with actually affect shipper and port operations.

A public meeting has been scheduled for February 18, 2016 in which the Coast Guard will be looking for further information on the potential impact of these new processes and how they can facilitate compliance with SOLAS.

Shapiro will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.