Container Weight FAQ
Q: For FCL shipments involving a freight forwarder there are two different scenarios:
a. where the forwarder is agent (putting the carrier and shipper in a direct contractual arrangement);
b. where the freight forwarder acts as principal and issues a house bill of lading, being named as the 'shipper' on the maritime carrier's bill of lading/contract of carriage
In either scenario, can the freight forwarder rely on the mass provided by the forwarder's customer using Method 2?
A: This is an International and a National issue.
Internationally, for the purpose of the SOLAS requirements, the ‘shipper’ is the entity named on the maritime carrier’s bill of lading/contract of carriage. It is the shipper who is responsible for obtaining the verified gross mass of the packed container and for providing it to the maritime carrier and terminal operator; the preparation of any documentation needs to be determined between the commercial parties involved
The SOLAS requirements do not include registration or approval in order to use Method 2, but this may be part of national implementation measures to achieve compliance. It must be stressed that the absence of specific national rules for registration and approval for use of Method 2 does not mean that shippers may not use Method 2 to determine the verified gross mass and provide it to the carrier and the terminal operator. However, mass should be obtained using calibrated and certified weighing equipment that complies with the accuracy standards of the jurisdiction in which the equipment is used.
As a National issue:
In jurisdictions that do not implement Method 2 registration and certification requirements, where a freight forwarder enters into contracts of carriage with maritime carriers (i.e. acts as a principal), it is the freight forwarder who is named as the shipper on the maritime carrier’s bill of lading and as such is legally responsible under SOLAS for obtaining and providing the verified gross mass. If such a freight forwarder, named as shipper on the bill of lading, seeks to rely on another party (such as a customer) to provide that verified gross mass information, it is the forwarder’s responsibility to be satisfied that the other party accurately determines the verified gross mass that is then provided to the carrier. If the forwarder is acting as an agent, it will not be named as shipper on the bill of lading. Consequently, it will not be responsible for obtaining and providing the verified gross mass; the shipper named on the bill of lading will.
In jurisdictions that do implement Method 2 registration and approval requirements, the basic SOLAS requirements still apply, i.e. if the forwarder is named as the shipper on the bill of lading, that forwarder is legally responsible for obtaining and providing the verified gross mass. Whether such a forwarder would be able to rely on the verified gross mass obtained by another party may depend on the specific national rules pertaining to Method 2. If the forwarder is acting as an agent, it will not be named as shipper on the bill of lading. Consequently, it will not be responsible for obtaining and providing the verified gross mass; the shipper named on the bill of lading will.