SOLAS: Saves Lives? Causes Ulcers?

By Susan Kohn Ross

On July 1, 2016, the Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”) requirement for shippers to provide steamship lines with the verified gross mass (“VGM”) of each shipment takes effect internationally.

While under development at the International Maritime Organization for years, these requirements caught many in the U.S. by surprise last summer when the deadline was emphasized. Perhaps equally surprising was the response of the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency with enforcement jurisdiction. Coast Guard management has been publicly quoted as saying the SOLAS VGM requirements are not mandatory under U.S. law! Rather, they are simply one business means to achieve compliance.  U.S. terminals have been weighing export containers for OSHA compliance reasons for years, but the same is not true in other countries.  Continue reading “SOLAS: Saves Lives? Causes Ulcers?”

Too Little, Too Late!

By Susan Kohn Ross

First published by the Journal of Commerce – May 2015

On April 3, 2015, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a report entitled: “Rules, Rates and Practices Related to Detention, Demurrage and Free Time for Containerized Imports and Exports Moving Through Selected United States Ports.” The report summarized the results of a series of listening sessions the FMC conducted during the recent port congestion challenges. While it is understandable the FMC wanted to report what it learned, the FMC missed a golden chance to be relevant during a critical time. Continue reading “Too Little, Too Late!”