A CUSTOMER survey by INTTRA, the multi-carrier e-commerce marketplace for ocean shipping, has found widespread fears of disruption chaos when the UN's Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) container weight requirements become compulsory next July.
"Kuehne + Nagel said that unless global communication standards and practices are adopted, the requirements might create chaos when implemented," said INTTRA president Inna Kuznetsova.
Most of the 410 respondents overwhelmingly expressed concerns about the readiness of the ocean shipping industry and their own companies and customers for the implementation SOLAS verified gross mass (VGM) regulations.
New rules say containers cannot be loaded until their weight has been verified and certified. Only 30 per cent of respondents said they expected their companies or customers to be ready.
Forty-eight per cent said they "had doubts," and 10 per cent said no. Two-thirds of respondents, or 66 per cent, said they expected either a moderate or major disruption in the industry, mostly in Asia-Pacific (42 per cent), followed by Africa (22 per cent).
INTTRA has launched an initiative to effect a smooth transition to compliance through digital means, bringing together carriers, NVOCCs, forwarders, shippers, terminal operators and port authorities, regulators, rail operators and truckers.
More than 100 participants are registered in an online discussion group. Several are actively engaged, including APL, BDP International, CEVA, Damco, Hapag Lloyd, Hamburg Sud, Kuehne + Nagel and UASC.
The eVGM Initiative has two objectives: 1) To state a preference for electronic submission through a "digital-first" approach to SOLAS VGM compliance that allows trading partners ample time for preparations;
And 2) to support safety and efficiency by developing an industry community to foster agreement or consensus on a technology standard and standard business process for digital documentation of VGM submissions.
Otto Schacht, Kuehne + Nagel's global director of seafreight, fully supports INTTRA's efforts. For this system to work efficiently and reliably, shippers, freight intermediaries and ocean carriers must work on practical compliant solutions, he said.
"BDP International recognises the need for a more contemporary approach to reporting under SOLAS' verified gross mass regulation and supports INTTRA's eVGM initiative," said BDP Vice President John Clark.
Said BDP vice president John Clark: "An e-commerce solution is necessary to minimise the impact of the reporting requirements which otherwise would result in a slow and costly process. "The efficiencies and effectiveness of electronic integration solutions have been proven time and again, and must be applied to eliminate dependency on an outdated document-based process," he said.
Maersk's Damco, one of the world's big 3PLs, said it was actively collaborating with INTTRA "to ensure introduction of one global data format that meets all legal requirements while at the same time minimising the impact to our customers' supply chains".
Source : HKSG.