VGM 3-Month Grace Period

Re-post and update from May 27, 2016.

Vector Smart Object1.svg_64x64The International Maritime Organization has announced it will allow a grace period of three months immediately following the new SOLAS VGM Mandate to be implemented on July 1, 2016.  The grace period is strictly put in place for the enforcement of the requirement.  This should allow for additional time to obtain further clarification from the IMO and U.S. Coast Guard, which will enforce the new VGM requirements most likely on October 1, 2016.

VGM will not be delayed

The International Maritime Organization’s Maritime’s Safety Committee said there would be no delay in the implementation of the verified gross mass rule, however, a three month grace period urged by the industry stake holders is likely to occur.

As stated in American Shipper,

“There are no doubt still a number of grey areas,” Peregrine Storrs-Fox, the risk management director at the insurer TT Club said. “In order to give time for these to be resolved, the IMO’s intent is that any party who has done its level best to comply, even if it has not technically fulfilled the letter of the law, may expect to be treated with understanding. Those, however who have done little or nothing can expect to be penalized.”

The idea is to bring the new rule into effect in phases. The first phase being 3 months of sorting out any issues that may arise, such as communication and documentation of the data.

The 19 ocean carrier members of the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) are collaborating with six major East and Gulf coast port authorities to establish a harmonized container weighing process plan by allowing marine terminals to use certified scales to provide the verified gross mass of containers if the shipper desires.

Requirements still need to be discussed between the port authorities, carriers and the Federal Maritime Commission.  The NCBFAA just recently sent a letter to FMC urging them to accept.
Ports to offer VGM Weighing Service:

  • Georgia Ports Authority
  • South Carolina Ports Authority
  • North Carolina State Ports Authority
  • Port of Houston Authority
  • Port of Virginia
  • Massachusetts Port Authority
  • Port Everglades

According to Maritime Executive, “Some American ports – including Oakland, Long Beach, and Los Angeles – have announced that they will not be creating a unified policy on VGM, and will leave the decision up to individual terminal operators to create their own policies. Earlier this month, the business association for the 13 terminal operators at Los Angeles and Long Beach said that their terminals lacked infrastructure to supply VGM weighing services, and each terminal would decide whether to refuse entry to unweighed containers.

However, according to American Shipper, OCEMA is also initiating a similar plan as stated above directly with the West Coast terminals through the “Pacific Ports Operational Improvement Agreement.

Click image to view Journal of Commerce's full infographic and weighing reference guide.

Click image to view Journal of Commerce’s full infographic and weighing reference guide.


World Shipping Organization’s VGM Guide

Scarbrough’s VGM Guide

JOC Methods 1 and 2


july 13Question and Answer Forum: SOLAS Weight Verification Requirement Revisited
Starting July 1 2016, shippers will be required to verify the packed container weight of their cargo or else…. what? In hopes questions that are left unanswered, will have answers, we plan to bring our experts back. View previous webinar held by Scarbrough University.

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