The SOLAS amendments for the container weight verification requirement are coming into force on 1st July 2016. Below we gathered questions and answers on how HHLA Container Terminals in Hamburg intend to deal with the SOLAS amendments.

Information Flow

How does the terminal obtain the VGM?

The terminal will accept the VGM from the shipping line only. It is the only source for stowage planning and loading processes.

What methods are used for accepting VGM?

The accepted standard is EDIFACT Message COPRAR Load. The terminal will assume that the COPRAR Load Message, sent from the shipping line to the terminal, only contains information for containers where a VGM has been obtained by the shipping line. Shipping line must include only containers with VGM in COPRAR Load.

In exceptional cases, the terminal will accept VGM sent via paper, fax, e-mail if the gross mass is included and stated as being the VGM.

Terminal will not accept VGM by any other method or message.

Will HHLA supply a confirmation for receiving VGM?

No, such confirmation will not be supplied.



Delivery (Gate In) at the Terminal

Can containers without VGM be accepted by the terminal?

Yes, terminal will accept full container gate in without VGM. However, terminal will not consider containers without VGM for stowage planning (BAPLIE) and loading.

Will VGM from e.g. trucker or train operator be accepted?

No, terminal will not accept VGM from any other party than the shipping line.

Will terminals cross check the gross mass from different sources?

HHLA terminals will not cross check gross mass from other parties with VGM obtained from the shipping line.

We will only check that gross mass is bigger than tare weight.

Will HHLA terminals return VGM within CODECO / COARRI message to the Shipping Line?

No, terminals will not return VGM with EDIFACT message COARRI / CODECO.



Before Vessel Loading

What about the VGM of incoming transshipment containers?

Terminal will not process VGM of incoming transshipment containers. In case of transshipment the terminal expects a COPRAR Load for loading onto the outbound vessel.

Will terminals process VGM from BAPLIE?

Terminals will not process VGM from BAPLIE

Is there a deadline for transmitting VGM?

Deadline for COPRAR Load (including VGM) is at least 24 hours before estimated time of arrival (ETA).

If ETA of vessel shifts than of course the deadline shifts as well. After that stowage planning process starts. Containers receiving VGM after the deadline cannot be considered for stowage planning. Subsequently these containers will be excluded from stowage planning and loading process.

Will terminal consider container without a VGM for stowage planning?

There will be no stowage planning without VGM.

When should shipping line sent COPRAR Load message to terminal?

HHLA Terminals processes only the last COPRAR Load message that has been sent by shipping line before VGM deadline. So the COPRAR Load should be sent, preferably only once, before VGM deadline is reached.

How can the shipping line communicate a “no-load” instruction to the terminal?

Containers without a VGM in the COPRAR Load list will not be accepted.

The shipping line must inform the terminal by means of fax or email, if a container with VGM should not be loaded by the terminals.



Weighing of containers at the terminal

Will HHLA offer weighing services at the terminal?

At CTA and CTB it will be possible to weigh single containers for VGM purposes. However, the service is limited to few containers at a time only and can only be offered in exceptional cases. Tariffs for weighing can be looked up in the HHLA quay tariff.

Will HHLA transmit VGM for containers, weighed at the terminal, via EDIFACT messages (e.g. VERMAS)?

No. Terminals will transmit VGM as weighing note in writing (e.g. fax, email).

To whom will terminal report VGM for containers weighed at the terminal?

HHLA will report VGM only to the party that ordered the weighing at the terminal.

Who will be charged when containers are weighed at the terminal?

Terminals will charge the party that ordered the weighing at the terminal.

What does it cost to weigh single containers?

Vou will find the costs in the HHLA Quay Tariffs, Section VIII (4), Charges for the Container Handling



Amendment of EDIFACT Messages

Will any message in use for exchange of information between terminal and shipping line be amended to meet latest MIG of SMDG to include VGM?

HHLA does not plan to amend any EDIFACT messages currently in use. No changes to EDIFACT messages are required.

Which data regarding VGM is required by the terminal?

COPRAR Load message which contains only containers that have a VGM. No specific qualifier is needed.

Which BAPIE version is supported by terminal systems?

BAPLIE versions 1.5 and 2.0.



Implementation of VGM at HHLA

What is the timeline for implementation?

The Implementation in HHLA IT systems is currently under way.

Operations with VGM settings will be rolled out at all three terminals from Mid-June 2016 onwards. From that date, on HHLA terminals will work with VGM processes (see Information Flow section also). HHLA will publish the exact date of the roll out for each terminal in due time.

Will HHLA offer a testing phase to customers?

No testing of messages is necessary, because no changes in EDIFACT Messages are made.