Weight of Containers Needs to be Verified – Effective 1st July 2016

What are the changes effective July 1st 2016?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (Chapter VI, part A, regulation 2), that requires packed containers’ gross mass to be verified prior to stowage aboard ship. These changes have become applicable under Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Law as a member of the IMO.

As from July 1st 2016 this regulation, prohibits loading of a packed container which does not have proof of verified gross mass (VGM) and applies to all packed containers which are to be loaded onto a vessel.

What do you need to do effective July 1st 2016?

The responsibility for obtaining and providing the verified gross mass lies with the shipper/packer of the container. The VGM details need to be provided to the shipping line sufficiently in advance of vessel loading and must be provided at the time of lodging the Pre Receival Advice (PRA) which is processed before the container can arrive at the terminal.

In order for us to declare the VGM on your behalf when lodging the PRA, we will require a declaration from the shipper confirming the following;

  1. VGM of each container
    • VGM is the weight of all packages and cargo items, including the weight of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container PLUS the tare weight of the container
  2. How the VGM was calculated
    • Further details follow on the available methods of calculation
  3. Who is declaring the VGM
    • The VGM must be declared by a duly authorised person

How to determine the VGM?

The SOLAS regulations prescribes two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container.

  1. The shipper may weigh the packed and sealed container using calibrated and certified equipment
    • SILA Can arrange to weigh the packed container via a service which utilises mobile weighing equipment at your premise prior to collection
    • Alternatively, the container can be weighed at a public weigh station on route to terminal

Please advise SILA if you wish to utilise either of the above methods and we can provide the costs to you

  1. The shipper may add the weight of each package stuffed in the container, add the packing and securing material and add the tare weight of the utilized container. Weight obtained using this method must be from the use of calibrated and certified weighing equipment.

An estimation of weight is absolutely NOT permitted.

How can you submit the VGM?

You may advise the VGM on the Forwarding instruction, commercial invoice, Packing List or a VGM Document (SILA can provide one you can use).

Whichever way you provide the VGM it must be containing the following critical information;

  • Verified Gross Weight for all non-empty container
  • Method of Weight calculation
  • Date of verification
  • Name of Declarant
  • Company name of the Declarant
  • Phone or email of the Declarant.

What happens if your VGM is not submitted?

A packed container, for which the verified gross mass has not been obtained will not be loaded on the vessel. Loading of a packed container without VGM to a vessel is an offence against an existing SOLAS regulation. This will result in the container being held. 

Where to get further information? Information on the legislation can be found on the following websites: http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/cargo-weight