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Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Certification Effective July 1

On July 1, 2016, the new container weight verification rule will go into effect and will impact shippers from 171 countries due to the added requirements of necessary documentation. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted this new requirement under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2. 

What is SOLAS? The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an international maritime safety treaty. It ensures that ships flagged by signatory States comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation. The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. 

What does VGM mean for the shipper?  The ‘shipper’ named on an ocean bill of lading will be responsible for providing the verified weight, referred to as the VERIFIED GROSS MASS (VGM), of a packed container to the carrier and the terminal operator. The container cannot be loaded on board the vessel until the carrier and terminal operator have the VGM. In addition, the carrier must have the information far enough in advance to complete the vessel stow plan.

The MIQ VGM Certification Form & Instructions: Click here for the form, together with the instructions on how to complete it, that MIQ will require to file the VGM Certification with the Vessel Operator.

The steamship line will not load a container without the VGM Certification: There is no exception to this requirement. If the acceptable VGM documentation is not timely provided by the shipper, that container will not be loaded on board the vessel.

Calculated the Verified Gross Mass (VGM): There are two (2) permissible methods for determining the VGM:

  • Method 1: Weigh the ocean container and the contents after the container is completely packed and sealed.
  • Method 2: All Packages and Cargo weighted individually plus the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material added to container tare.

MIQ Logistics has compiled additional information about VGM which also includes information pertaining to cutoff times, as well as charges related to SOLAS weight certification, this document can be accessed here.

MIQ Logistics is closely monitoring the SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirements and will provide additional guidance on our Ocean Freight Forwarding Market Update page, as they become available.

For more information, please contact your local MIQ Logistics representative