Some Clarity on SOLAS VGM

Long awaited process and procedures and clarity surrounding how and when the container weight verification data should be submitted is finally here.  American Shipper was the first to release that “a group of 18 ocean carriers on Monday outlined what they consider best practices for shippers to submit container weight verification data to comply with a forthcoming amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.”

According to the article, “The 18 carriers, under the auspices of the long-running Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), have been meeting for five months to provide clarity surrounding how and when the container weight verification data should be submitted.”

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Some points to note

  • 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

Clarity on the “Calculation Method”

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.