LAGOS— A major crisis is looming in the nation’s maritime industry, as exporters of containerized goods will not be able to ship their consignments out of the country from July 1 when the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, commences implementation of compulsory Verified Gross Mass, VGM.
investigations reveal that less than two weeks to the commencement of the implementation of the global regulation, weigh-stations are yet to be established in the ports in Lagos which handle over 70 percent of the nation’s throughput (import and export).
The establishment of weigh-stations is a critical requirement for the implementation of the VGM. The VGM is a global regulation that requires that all containers must be weighed before shipment. It was passed by the Maritime Safety Committee, MSC, of the IMO in 2014with the active contribution of all member states.The urgency for the establishment of a means for VGM in the country was first raised three months ago at a forum organized by the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, where it was decided that weigh-stations should be established the nation’s seaports to beat the new regulation.
Responding to enquiries from Vanguard, Director in charge of Standard Services of the NSC, Moses Oyebola, said that efforts are ongoing to ensure that the country beats the deadline. He disclosed that relevant stakeholders have held several meetings and implementation of the decision reached at the meetings will commence soon. He also revealed that Shippers Council has held meetings with terminal operators and shipping lines to ensure that the country is not caught unprepared before the commencement date.