Every human resources professional who is involved in relocating key staff internationally will know how important the smooth movement of household goods can be for transferees. In this article EUROMOVERS International, a global network of moving companies specialising in looking after transferring executives, explains how its members are dealing with a major challenge the industry faces in 2016 that threatens to disrupt the shipping of household goods worldwide.
Household goods, in common with most international cargo, is shipped in standard ISO containers. Until now, the approximate weights of those containers were declared on the shipping documentation by the shipper as part of the export procedures. From 1 July, 2016 however, every container that is shipped from anywhere in the world, will have to be weighed and a verified weight certificate supplied to the master of the ship. No certificate. No shipment.
The legislation is as a result of amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea convention (SOLAS) that have been adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and is intended to reduce marine accidents caused by the incorrect loading of vessels. It is already focussing the thoughts of the household goods shipping industry, along with many others, all keen to ensure the smooth transfer of goods from one country to another.
The problem is that the availability of weighing facilities, such as weigh bridges, varies dramatically from one country to another. In some countries they are not available at all. However EUROMOVERS International is making sure that its members worldwide are fully aware of the new requirements so that they can establish the best way to comply with the regulations before the July deadline.
Thomas Juchum, the EUROMOVERS International general manager, explained that members had been given two alternatives to ensure that they are compliant and that containers will be accepted for shipment. “They can weigh the container when it’s loaded onto the vehicle to go to the docks or they can weigh each item as it’s loaded into the container,” he said. “Whichever system they use it is a requirement that the weighing equipment is correctly calibrated and accepted as providing a verified weight.”
Thomas explained that without showing a verified weight on the documentation shipments will not be accepted onto vessels causing serious delays and additional costs. However members of EUROMOVERS International are already ahead of the game. “By making sure that we comply with the new regulation as soon as it comes into force our members can ensure that customers’ goods travel smoothly and quickly to their new destination.”
EUROMOVERS International has a total of 58 member companies in 35 countries as far apart as Australia, China, Europe and the USA.