Cargo regulations

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) governs the agreed minimum requirements for handling and transport of cargoes and dangerous goods.

We implement the IMO agreed international minimum requirements in Australia for all safety-related aspects of the handling and transport of cargoes and dangerous goods.

International maritime solid bulk cargoes (IMSBC) code 2018 edition

The 2018 edition of the IMSBC code is available from IMO publications. Check their publications catalogue for details. 

Individual schedule for iron ore in 2016 edition 

An erratum issued by the IMO includes the correct individual iron ore schedule, as amended by the 03-15 amendments. 

If you have a hard copy of the 2016 IMSBC code please print the erratum and insert into your copy. If you purchased the e-reader file, you can access the erratum using the internet update or check for content update function on the IMO bookshelf.

The IMSBC code and erratum remain the responsibility of the IMO.

Verified gross mass of containers

The shipper is responsible for verifying the gross mass (VGM) of a container and stating this VGM on the maritime shipping documents. The shipper can use either:

  • Method 1—weighing the fully laden (packed) container
  • Method 2—weighing the cargo, and adding the weight of the empty container (tare).

Weighing equipment used must meet standards of accuracy prescribed in the applicable legislation.

All containers being shipped from Australia must have a declared VGM on the maritime shipping documents.

Containers without a VGM on the maritime shipping documents cannot be loaded.

    Dangerous goods training for shore-side personnel

    Shore-side personnel must receive general and function-specific training if they are engaged in the shipping activities of dangerous goods.

    The activities include:

    • packing dangerous goods in packages 
    • marking, labelling or placarding dangerous goods
    • loading or unloading cargo transport units 
    • preparing transport documents for dangerous goods.

    See chapter 1.3 of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code and section 21 of Marine Order 41 for details:

    We recommend that all other shore-based staff engaged in the shipment of dangerous goods are trained to the standards specified in the IMDG code. We have ‘accepted’ a range of courses that may be used to comply with this requirement:

    We publish the Dangerous, harmful and hazardous cargoes handbook third edition, which is both a training aid and a practical guide to compliance. It can be purchased from us for A$20 plus GST and postage, or for orders of 100 or more A$15 plus GST and postage.

      Last updated: 

      Thursday 9 July 2020