Below is more information regarding the new regulation passed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) concerning the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) which obliges the Shippers to declare the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of the containers effective July 1, 2016.
The shipper or authorized agent is responsible for verifying the gross mass of a FCL (Full Container Load) shipment. The shipper is also responsible for communicating to the carriers the accurate VGM (Verified Gross Mass). The VGM must be supplied to the carrier by their designated cut off time/date as this information will be used by the ship’s master or representative and the terminal staff in the preparation of the vessel stowage plan. If the VGM is not supplied by the shipper or authorized agent by the required time and date, there is a no weight, no load policy in place with the carriers until the required information is submitted.
As part of this new regulation shippers are required to weigh their cargo in one of two methods:
Method No. 1: After a container is packed and sealed, the shipper shall use calibrated and certified equipment to weigh the packed container. The shipper also has the option to use a third party to provide this approved weight certification.
Method No. 2: The shipper (or a third party arranged by the shipper) may weigh all packages and cargo items. This includes mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material to be packed in the container. Then add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses of the container’s contents. Please note the tare of each container is clearly marked on the container.
VGM Submission Method:
Benchmark Export Services will supply a blank Container Weight Verification document along with the dock receipt on every FCL shipment. The Container Weight Verification document must be submitted back to Benchmark as we will electronically file the VGM through our data system. This form must be completed and a copy given to the driver along with the dock receipt when turning in the container at the pier.
VGM Submission Cut off time:
Due to the variances between the working procedures and the different terminals and ports worldwide, the cutoff time is different with various carriers. Benchmark will notify you of the VGM cut off date at time of booking.
VGM Scale Certification:
VGM requires that the scales are certified by local authorities and that proof can be provided upon request. For clients who do not have scales, the container trucker will need to stop at approved weigh stations to have the containers weighed.
Please note the SOLAS Regulation is for Full Container Loads only.
For LCL shipments, the NVOCC’s will be issuing a VGM surcharge for all LCL bookings and can range from $25-$75 per shipment.
For any further questions or concerns, please contact our office at (610) 521-9100.