New SOLAS Rules’ Impact on Global Mobility Specialists and Foreign Talents

What do international maritime regulatory boards have to do with global mobility specialists and foreign talents? Last July, the boards amended the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) rules, a small but significant change that can certainly influence your dealings when recruiting and relocating  your foreign talent with cargo. It is best to understand this new ruling now and prepare for it accordingly.

Basically, the SOLAS amendment says that all containers it is bringing on board must have its Verified Gross Mass checked, certified as accurate, and documented. Inaccurate documentation in the past had overlooked excessive weight of entire containers which in turn had placed undue pressure on the ship; if the vessel cannot adequately handle the cumulative weight of the packages it has on board, it can suffer several leaks, or worse  see its parts break out, which can lead to its sinking.

This was what happened to the MSC Napoli which splintered in the seas of Devon, the United Kingdom after being caught up in a heavy storm. The excessive weight of the containers, which had not been accurately reported, further added to the weakening of the vessel’s structure. The ship broke up into pieces, and much of its cargo was swept out into the deeper waters, or worse, was brought by the currents into the beach where they were stolen. Some of the most expensive items hauled away by beachcombers were BMW motor bikes!

How does this new SOLAS amendment affect you and your assignee?  

First, expect some delays as everyone will adjust to the new rule. Not all documentation would prove accurate at first inspection. Any revision would stop the vessel from leaving port. This early in the game, better advise your assignee that the arrival of his cargo might be a little late.

Second, you and your assignee have to be equally vigilant in your documentation. Bear in mind that the containers that will be measured and documented might have his precious items like special mementos from home, furniture, and cultural accessories he’d like to bring to his new adopted country, and yes, a motorbike or two. Find a way to get their weights correctly; it would save you a lot of grief later on.

Third, don’t be surprised if there is additional cost for the transport of his goods. Shipping expenses might adjust to this new ruling. Create a contingency plan this early and determine who will pay the added costs: the company, your assignee, or perhaps the cost can be split into two.

Finally, monitor the progress of the trip as soon as the vessel containing your assignee’s goods leave port. He would never truly feel safe or happy until they are within his grasp or safely delivered into his new apartment. To allay that bit of anxiety, hire a relocation company to take care of everything once the ship docks in your city. California Corporate Housing does its fair  share by personalizing and redesigning an assignee’s new digs long before the shipment arrives. Once the cargo arrives, it’s just a matter of placing his choice items in a housing unit that already reflects his taste and personality.