Transnet Port Terminals report back on SA’s compliance post the SOLAS deadline

JULY 4, 2016

The deadline for the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) amendments to the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) has finally arrived.

Having gone live with SOLAS from the 27th June, ahead of the 1st July deadline – Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) are said to be pleased with the readiness shown by the industry so far.

“The week leading up to the 1st of July deadline where we implemented a pre-advice cutover period proved important in helping the industry adjust to the impending amendments to the legislation where VGM enforcement comes into effect. We are pleased to report that our updated NAVIS 2.6 version to accommodate the SOLAS requirements has been integrated smoothly and without major incident.

"We are also confident based on our interactions with the industry over this cutover period that South Africa is ready for SOLAS and that most export containers running into our terminals in preparation for vessel loading to and after the 1st July will be compliant,” stated Zeph Ndlovu, General Manager for TPT and a lead project member of the SOLAS project TEAM at Transnet Port Terminals.

In a forum conducted at the Cargo Africa Show and coordinated by TPT on the 28th June 2016, major industry players formed a panel to tackle any concerns or issues prior to the deadline coming into affect, with TPT contributing to the discussion with feedback since their cutover period commenced on the 27th June 2016.

The participation of representatives from SAMSA, Inttra, South African Fruit Growers and Transnet Freight Rail demonstrated the continued efforts and collaboration by these players prior to the deadline to educate and ensure an effortless transition. According to SAMSA, South Africa was recognized by the IMO for its readiness in the Southern Hemisphere – together with Australia and New Zealand.

Since May 2016 TPT began operating inclusive EDI forums with customers to consult, and review challenges arising from the implementation of new EDI standards derived from the SOLAS implementation globally.

According to Ndlovu, these online forums will continue post the deadline to assist clients with adjusting to the VGM enforcements, of which the IMO guidelines are clear that the shipper is responsible for providing the VGM sufficiently in advance of loading the container aboard a vessel.

To participate in the forums, please contact Darren Fraser on [email protected] for more details.