SOLAS VERIFIED GROSS MASS (VGM) ENFORCEMENT: WHAT IS IT AND HOW WILL IT AFFECT SHIPPERS?
VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass; in shipping terms, this refers to the combined total weight of the empty container (tare) plus its contents (the cargo).
Apart from any other restrictions imposed for carriage by road or rail, the maximum weight carrying capacity of a container is a predetermined value that is written on the container itself (i.e. on the container panels as well as CSC (Convention for Safe Containers) safety approval plate that is affixed to the door of each unit).
Gross Mass has been an issue in shipping for a long time; shippers (especially those of heavy cargo) have an incentive to misdeclare. Under-declaring VGM provides less scrupulous firms with the opportunity to cheat and thereby lessen their freight cost. Even conscientious shippers might inadvertently under-declare the gross weight of their cargo. The cumulative effect on a vessel can be considerable (i.e. in differences that can amount to hundreds or even thousands of tonnes of unmanifested weight per voyage). These hidden variances can have serious consequences for operation of port side equipment and for the vessel itself.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for issuing regulations that help to govern international maritime traffic, including a subset that is referred to as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The aspect of SOLAS that pertains to the weighing of containers was amended in 2014. New rules are scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2016 that will oblige shippers worldwide to provide a certified weight (VGM) for each container to the carrier before the carrier will accept those units. Shippers will be able to obtain VGM in either of two ways:
- By weighing the entire container intact (on a truck scale)
- By weighing the contents (including cargo, dunnage & bracing material) and then adding that to the tare weight of the container
Reference to the relevant change to SOLAS can be found on the World Shipping Council website here.
in order to facilitate the submission of VGM information, Integra Line Indonesia have prepared 2 templates for shippers to complete. Once completed, they should be sent to our export team by email: