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A SHIPPERS' GUIDE

SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Requirement


Verified Gross Mass (VGM)

The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Amendment will start on Friday 1st July 2016 and will affect all shippers, who are required to communicate the verified gross mass of their packed containers prior to delivery of the container to quay.
The incorrect declaration of container weight is a risk to on-and offshore personnel, to cargo and to equipment, on land and at sea. Leading to accidents, which the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) requirement aims to reduce.
At DKT Allseas we are well prepared to assist our customers in meeting the new global safety requirements. We are committed to making the process as easy as possible for you.

The verified gross mass is the combined weight of the container tare weight and the weight of all cargo, including packaging and dunnage.
The amendment to the current Solas VI regulations was adopted by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) to increase maritime safety and reduce risks facing cargo, containers and all those involved in container transport throughout the supply chain.
The VGM requirement will be effective from 1 July 2016. From this date carriers will not be allowed to load a packed container onto their vessels, unless a VGM has been provided by the shipper.
The new regulation will be enforced globally, but countries can issue their own guidelines based on the SOLAS requirement.
This may affect:
• Cut-off times
• VGM tolerance allowance
• Submission Requirements
It will differ from country to country. At DKT Allseas, the local requirements will be stated by our local offices, as soon as this information available.

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SOLAS VGM REQUIREMENT

Under the SOLAS Amendment, DKT Allseas are not required to verify the VGM provided by the shipper. However, if the terminal questions the declared weight and provides a certified scaled weight for the container, that weight will be used.

Impact on Shipper

Who will be responsible for the VGM submission?
The ‘Shipper’ named on the ocean Bill of Lading is the party responsible for providing the VGM to the carrier. A VGM needs to be submitted for every container being loaded on the vessel, before the load list cut-off. If the VGM is not provided in due time, the container cannot be loaded. A shipper can authorise a third party to provide the VGM on their behalf.
Will the VGM show on the Bill of Lading?
No, it will not. The VGM is declared separately from the gross cargo weight entered in the Bill of Lading
Is VGM applicable to break-bulk shipment?
No, break-bulk cargoes are exempt from the VGM requirement, unless it is transported in a container.
Will VGM affect pricing in any way?
If shippers’ are unable to provide verified weights an additional service will be provided at the shippers expense

VGM Process & Methods

The shipper is solely responsible for providing the VGM. Carriers and freight forwarder are not responsible for verifying this information Enforcement authorities in some countries have stated a 2-5% tolerance for the VGM to be considered compliant. For specific tolerances, please refer to the World shipping council website.
The VGM will be updated in the systems and that particular container would be part of the load list if all other criteria for loading are met
Yes, both the gross cargo weight and the VGM must be submitted.
DKT Allseas does not require a certificate at this stage. However, as per local country rules and regulations not yet in place, a certificate could be required in future.
If a VGM certificate is required by local authorities, they shall provide additional information on the format.
A standard text will be added stating the VGM is mandatory for all shipments.

VGM cut offs

As a general guidance, the VGM should be received by DKT Allseas prior to the cargo gate cut-off, before containers delivered to quay.

  • If a terminal at the port of loading has adopted the “No VGM, No Gate-in” policy, the container may be denied entry at the gate. Extra costs may incur for the time spent outside the terminal awaiting submission of the VGM.
  • No container will be loaded on board a vessel without a VGM, potential demurrage and/or detention charges may apply.
  • Should a container mistakenly be loaded on a vessel without a VGM, any transhipment port may refuse to handle the container. 
  • Rail providers have stated that the VGM requirement does not impact rail operations, however if a terminal has a “No VGM, No Gate-in” policy, the export container  arriving to this terminal before  VGM submission may result in additional charges to the shipper.

What is the “No VGM, No Gate-in” policy? While DKT Allseas will comply with the IMO’s SOLAS requirement for VGM prior to loading, some terminals may adopt an additional buffer known as the “No VGM, No Gate-in” policy. It is important to emphasise that the “No VGM, No Gate-in” policy is decided and enforced by the terminal and not by DKT Allseas. This policy will prevent a packed container from entering the gate in the absence of the VGM. In the event of a terminal enforcing a “No VGM, No Gate-in” policy, the VGM will need to be submitted to DKT Allseas in due time before Gate-in.

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