SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirement

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require, as a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship for export, that the container has a verified weight. The Shipper is responsible for the verification of the packed container’s weight. This requirement will become legally effective on July 1, 2016. After that date, it would be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container onto a vessel if the vessel operator and marine terminal operator do not have a verified container weight.

  • • The Shipper (listed as shipper in the bill of lading or sea waybill) is responsible for providing the VGM to the carrier in reasonable time prior to vessel loading.
  • • The VGM (Verified Gross Mass) consists of cargo weight including packaging and dunnage (securing) materials and tare weight of container.
  • • The Carrier is responsible for relaying the VGM to its terminal.
  • • Container means standard containers, tank containers, flat racks and bulk containers.
  • • The NVOCC is the shipper vis-à-vis the carrier and, therefore, responsible for providing the VGM to the carrier.
  • • The Data to be provided to the carrier consists of the VGM and the shipper’s (Individual’s) authorized signature (can be electronic). Local/national Laws/Rules might require additional data, processes or documents (e.g. weighing note).
  • • The Scale used for weighing has to be calibrated/certified in accordance with local/national Rules.
  • • There are two Methodologies for calculating the VGM:
    • ○ Weigh the packed/laden container
    • ○ Weigh all packages, packaging and dunnage material and add the tare weight of the container
  • • Carriers WILL NOT LOAD containers without having VGM

For further information, please see the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website –

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