Verified Gross Mass
In November 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted mandatory amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2 Cargo information regarding a mandatory container gross weight verification.
The SOLAS convention is applicable global binding regulation. All States that are party to the Convention, have undertaken to implement amendments, including these in relation to VGM, in their respective jurisdictions pursuant to existing authority. This means that national rules and regulations may exist and stakeholders should engage with the relevant competent authorities to obtain clarification on such national procedures in each country.
The SOLAS amendments become effective on 1 July 2016 for packed containers received for transportation.
They place a requirement on the shipper (named on the carrier’s bill of lading or waybill) of a packed container, regardless of who physically packed the container, to verify and provide the container’s gross verified weight to the ocean carrier and port terminal representative, prior to it being loaded onto a ship.
A verified container weight known also as VGM = Verified Gross Mass, is a condition for loading a packed container aboard a vessel for export. It is important to acknowledge that containers without this verification cannot be loaded.
The vessel operator and the terminal operator are required to use verified container weights in vessel stowage plans and are prohibited from loading a packed container aboard a vessel for export if the container does not have a verified container weight.
No provision or agreement in a contract of sale, a transportation contract, or a stevedoring contract may override or conflict with the obligation to abide by the SOLAS requirements for cargo verified gross mass 1.7.2016.
The Verified Gross Mass, the VGM, can be obtained by one of the two methods described below:
Method 1 – Using calibrated and certified equipment, the shipper or a third party duly appointed by the shipper weighs the packed container at the end of the stuffing operation once the seal is affixed.
Method 2 – The shipper or a third party, by arrangement of the shipper, weighs all packages, cargo items, pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material and adds the tare mass of the container.
In respect of both Method 1 and 2, the weighing equipment used must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the State in which the equipment is being used.
Please note that any costs incurred to Containerships Group, its Servants or Subcontractors, subject to non-existence of VGM, will be debited from the Shipper.
Please read the SOLAS VGM GUIDELINES (PDF)
For further information please see Maritime Safety Committee Implementation Guidelines or
Containerships Group will assist its clients with all queries regarding this new mandatory ruling affecting all containerized transport worldwide.