Working with the US Commercial Service to promote exports through business counseling, education, and community outreach.
By Catherine J. Petersen, CJ Petersen & Associates
An ocean carrier is not permitted to load a packed container onto a ship unless its weight has been determined through weighing. The SOLAS regulations specify that if the ocean carrier proceeds with loading a container without a Verified Gross Mass (or weight verification) statement from the shipper, the ocean carrier has violated SOLAS regulations. There have been several articles during the past several months about the Safety of Life at Sea or SOLAS rules that will be effective July 1, 2016. The questions have been asked, but not answered:
Let’s start with the rules; the World Shipping Council (WSC) approved changes to the SOLAS convention regarding a mandatory container weight verification requirement on shippers. The WSC Implementing Guidelines are posted at http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/cargo-weight.
Method No.1: Upon the conclusion of packing and sealing a container, the shipper may weigh, or have arranged that a third party weighs, the packed container.
Method No.2: The shipper (or, by arrangement of the shipper, a third party), may weigh all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material to be packed in the container, and add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses using a certified method. Any third party that has performed some or all of the packing of the container should inform the shipper of the mass of the cargo items and packing and securing material that the party has packed into the container in order to facilitate the shipper's verification of the gross mass of the packed container under Method No.2. As required by SOLAS VI/2 and paragraph 5, the shipper should ensure that the verified gross mass of the container is provided sufficiently in advance of vessel loading.
Within the WSC guidelines go on to advise that the verified gross mass (VGM) “is to be communicated between the shipper and any third party should be agreed between the commercial parties involved.” However, the document certifying the VGM can be part of the shipping instructions to the shipping company or a separate communication (e.g. a declaration including a weight certificate produced by a weigh station utilizing calibrated and certified equipment on the route between the shipper's origin and the port terminal). For more information, stay tuned to:
In July 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union, and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. On January 16, 2016, implementation of sanctions relief related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) took place upon the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifcation that Iran has implemented its key nuclear-related measures described in the JCPOA, and the Secretary State has confirmed the IAEA’s verification.
Does this mean U.S. companies can now do business in Iran? Not exactly....the trade embargo and other authorities remain in place.
Most JCPOA sanctions relief comes in the form of removing some (not all) secondary sections (those generally related to non-U.S. persons' activities with respect to Iran), as well as some specfic sector relief such as export to Iran's civil aviation industry (with OFAC license approval) and the importation of Iranian carpets and food stuffs, as examples. The relief also allows for some activities of foreign entities owned or controlled by U.S. person that occurs outside of the U.S. borders and U.S. financial institutions. Other general licenses, such as those for medical supplies continue to exist.
Again, it is important to note that the trade embargo, the primary U.S. sanction against Iran, is still in place along with other authorities related to support for terrorism, human rights abuses, proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery.
As such, it is critical to consult the guidance that is published by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before engaging in activities that might violate U.S. laws and regulations in regards to trade with Iran.
The information can be found on the U.S. Department of Treasury website:
OFAC Iran Sanctions Page (all related information to Iranian sanctions are posted here)
Questions? Contact OFAC
2015 marks the 30th year of the annual Governor's International Trade Award, that honors Minnesota companies that have shown exceptional progress and success in foreign markets. In addition to honoring individual recipients, the award recognizes the tremendous positive effect that exports and trade have on the state's overall economy.
The Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) is accepting nominations for the awards in two categories: 1) Manufacturing or Services; and 2) Agricultural Commodities or Processed Food. Companies can self-nominate, or be nominated by their peers.
With the United States as the Partner Country for the first time in HANNOVER MESSE history, your company, EDO, or organization has an unprecedented opportunity to showcase your goods, services, and investment opportunities:
Connect across industry sectors from energy, industrial automation, digital factory, industrial supply, and research technology.
Today, the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement has been released by the U.S. and the 11 other TPP partners. The agreement reached with all the partner countries of the TPP will:
• Eliminate over 18,000 different "Made in America" export taxes
• Include the strongest worker and environmental protections of any Trade Agreement in history
• Help small businesses benefit from global trade
• Protect digital freedom, preserve an open internet and promote E-Commerce
• Capitalize on America's position as the world leader in services exports