Stakeholders participated in a Transnet Port Terminals co-ordinated event in Cape Town on the 25th of May 2016. The purpose of the event was to provide an overview of the SOLAS requirements in terms of IMO guidelines and communicate Transnet’s approach to SOLAS with system implications.
“We are conducting stakeholder engagement sessions across the country in the next two weeks with the objective of outlining Transnet’s position with a particular focus on TPT, TNPA and TFR. The presentations to attending stakeholders includes an overview of obligations, measures to support compliance and to clarify practical implications with respect to the enforcement date and cut over period,” stated Darren Fraser, a lead project member of the SOLAS project at Transnet Port Terminals.
For its part, TPT has upgraded the existing EDI /NAVIS solution to Navis 2,6 which went live on May 1 at all TPT container terminals. Transnet Freight Rail site currently using SPARCS Navis 4 also moved to the new system. The Navis version 2,3 had reached the end of product support and version 2,6 is based on an improved technology platform that assists in improving system availability. Changes are being made to the 2,6 version to accommodate the SOLAS requirements prior to the implementation date, however, there are minimal changes to what users see and work on. It is through improvements to the system architecture and the communication protocols that users will experience an improvement in response to queries performed within Navis.
The system will require that the verified gross mass and supporting information will be provided before a truck will be allowed to enter the terminal gate – a process consistent with the current pre-advice requirement for exports. The regulation will also apply to transshipments, requiring a significant amount of development and testing of EDI messages between carriers and TPT. According to Fraser, testing of the EDI messages with individual shipping lines began in April and will continue until full compliance is achieved prior to 1 July 2016. TPT has begun inclusive EDI forums with customers to consult, and review challenges arising from the implementation of new EDI standards derived from the SOLAS implementation globally.
This inclusive approach adopted by TPT has in the past also included engagement sessions with various stakeholders’ bodies since October 2015. In addition to this the TPT position was posted on TPT’s website and via their social media accounts.
“Transnet supports the spirit and intention of the SOLAS amendments. The IMO guidelines are clear that the shipper is responsible for providing the VGM sufficiently in advance of loading the container aboard a vessel. Through our constant communication and interaction with the industry we are confident we will have provided sufficient support and information to all affected parties by the time the new legislation comes into effect on the 1st of July 2016 so we can achieve a smooth transition for all concerned,” concluded Lipuo Lebakeng, TPT Western Region Corporate Affairs Manager.