The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Shipping Council, trade organizations that represent container liner companies, will require verification of container weights at origin set for July 1, 2016. The amendment created to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires the verified gross mass (VGM) of containers to be documented before they can be loaded on ships.

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VGM Updates

  • The OCEMA suggestions are not binding in and of themselves
  • “No VGM, no load” (freight will be rolled until next vessel and VGM is then provided)
  • VGM can be submitted electronically via these methods:
    • EDI messaged called VERMAS with code of 304
    • INTTRA
    • GT Nexus
    • CargoSmart
    • or via the carrier’s own electronic portal

Source: American Shipper

Clarity on the “Calculation Method”

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According to American Shipper, “The so-called calculation method stipulates that shippers or forwarders total the weight of all cargo and packing materials inside the container and add the tare weight of the container. Export shippers have argued they shouldn’t be held responsible for verifying the weight of equipment they don’t own or maintain.”  OCEMA’s reply to this states, “It is acceptable for shippers to rely upon the tare weight being made available by the ocean carrier.”  “The shipper would not be certifying the accuracy of the container tare weight printed on the container.”

OCEMA members include APL, ACL, CMA CGM, COSCO Container Lines, China Shipping, Evergreen Line, Hamburg Sud, Hapag-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine, “K” Line, Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Co., MOL, NYK Line, OOCL, UASC, Yang Ming, and ZIM.

For more information on VGM, click here.

For more full article details, visit American Shipper.

Question and Answer Forum: SOLAS Weight Verification Requirement Revisited
 In hopes questions that are left unanswered, will have answers, we plan to bring our experts back.
Register Now for access to our FREE webinar on July 13, 2016

Q&A SOLAS Forum from Scarbrough International on Vimeo.


American Shipper Research – Eric Johnson

Scarbrough Cares for You – Patrick Colligan

Who is responsible to provide container weight? Answer

Weight scale program is already certified whats next? Answer

Will scales need to be certified by outside agencies? Answer

How and to who should I provide the information to? Answer

Should the shipper actually be responsible for the weight? Answer

Is there going to be a variants allow?  Answer

Can forwarders with a POA sign in behalf of a company? Answer

What is the total weight allowed? Answer

What is the responsibility or liability of the consignee? Answer

Who is responsable for LCL Cargo? Answer

What if there is a discrepancy? Answer

Weighting vs Timing Answer

Will this affect contracts between shippers and carriers? Answer

How is Scarbrough assisting their clients? Answer

Any relation between VGM and AES process? Answer

Multivendor Consolidation for Scarbrough Answer

Is this a worldwide regulation? Answer


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Other Helpful Sources:

Splash 24/7


World Shipping Committee

American Shipper

Journal of Commerce

Journal of Commerce – US won’t delay

Journal of Commerce FAQ

STR Trade

Roanoke Group