Shippers to declare verified gross weight for all containers

From July 1st, 2016 the amended SOLAS Guidelines will enter into force. Samskip explains how to meet the new requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers.

SOLAS Guidelines

To ensure the safety of the vessel, cargo, workers both aboard vessels and ashore and overall safety at sea, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will require shippers (“sender of the goods”) to declare the gross weight of all packed containers prior to stowage aboard a vessel as of July 1st, 2016.

The Guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a packed container are the outcome of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which are to be implemented in national legislation in all countries worldwide.

What is Verified Gross Mass (VGM)?

The Verified Gross Mass is the total gross mass of a packed container plus container tare weight; obtained either through:

  • Using calibrated and certified equipment where the Shipper weighs the packed container at the end of the stuffing operation; or,
  • The shipper weighs all packages, cargo items, pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material and adds the tare mass of the container. The total sum finally obtained is the weight to be provided.

When is the Verified Gross Mass required?

A packed container will not be loaded on board a vessel unless the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a container has been provided to the Carrier and Terminal, or their representatives, sufficiently in advance.

Who is responsible to provide the Verified Gross Mass?

The Shipper is responsible to obtain and document the Verified Gross Mass regardless of who physically transports the cargo.