Shippers must declare EU road freight weights from 7 May


Less than a month from now, a new law is set to come into force within the European Union that will force shippers to declare the weight of their cargo to hauliers transporting goods within Europe

In what amounts to a partial extension of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) amendment of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations that entered global maritime regulation last July, the EU 2015/719 directive will formally enter law on 7 May 2017.

The new directive will mean that shippers with goods loaded in containers and swapbodies will have to provide hauliers with what was described by Freight Transport Association (FTA) director of global and European policy Chris Welsh as a “statement of compliance” − that the weight of the cargo and transport unit added to the weight of the truck and chassis will not exceed legal weight limits on roads. He was speaking on the second day of the Multimodal 2017 show at the Birmingham NEC last week.

DP World Southampton’s head of commercial Aart Hille Ris Lambers, who also took part in the workshop, said that since the VGM amendment had become law they had noticed that, in some cases, trucks breached weight limit laws in delivering boxes to the terminal. Southampton weighs every container as it is delivered to the terminal, whether the shipper has provided VGM or not.

“This new law is designed to address this problem, and will place the onus on shippers to declare the weight of their cargo,” Welsh said. “The shipper will have to give the haulier a statement indicating the weight of the container or swapbody, as well as the cargo, in much the same way as they do with the VGM.

“The regulation will stop hauliers being put in a position that sees them break legal road limits, often without knowing it. This can be serious for hauliers – they can have their operating licences taken away, and although it is not a major problem in the UK, it does happen sometimes and there are some unscrupulous firms.”

Welsh added that one of the key elements of the directive was that “no one wanted entirely new legislation”, adding: “We have an agreement that using existing documents such as packing notices will be sufficient to the statement, while shippers exporting containers outside the EU will be deemed to have complied with the new directive by virtue of a valid VGM,” Welsh explained.

The workshop was one of a series of educational sessions, which saw 82 industry experts share their insight with visitors at the free-to-attend show. A record-breaking 9,449 supply chain decision makers visited over 300 exhibitors at the three-day event, which celebrated its tenth birthday this year.

Multimodal 2018 will take place at the Birmingham NEC from 1-3 May 2018.