Maritime regulator, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has moved to allay fears that the country might fail to meet the set deadline that requires weighing of all cargoes prior to shipment.
KMA announced in a communiqué that it has drafted guidelines and procedures for verification of the gross mass for packed containers for export.
It is expected that the gross mass of transshipment and inbound containers be verified in the country of loading and hence the guidelines will not target imports.
The Kenyan guidelines follow the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee adoption of the SOLAS amendments regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo as set out in chapter VI, part A, Regulation 2 of the SOLAS Convention which is scheduled to come into force on the 1st July 2016.
‘’The main purpose of the IMO guidelines is to bring on board a common approach for the implementation and enforcement of the SOLAS requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers and provide recommendations on how to interpret and apply the provisions of the SOLAS requirements,’’ the maritime regulator added.
In Kenya, the SOLAS Convention has the force of law based on the fact that the Constitution recognizes all conventions ratified as part of the law.
The Kenyan guidelines are still in draft form and the dialogue between the players in the export sector is aimed at ensuring that necessary amendments are made to the procedures to eliminate operational and commercial repercussions which could lead to delays in the exportation processes.
‘’KMA is thus directly engaging exporters, cargo forwarders, carriers, the main terminal operator Kenya Ports Authority and it is expected that the Kenyan guidelines will be gazetted, tried and tested before 1st July 2016,’’ the authority said.
Shippers shall be required to verify the gross mass of their packed containers.
KMA also pointed out that the shipper is responsible for the verification of the gross mass of container.
In enforcing of the new regulations which come into force by July 1, 2016 , container will not be allowed inside the Port without the verified gross mass.