SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirement
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require, as a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship for export, that the container has a verified weight. The Shipper is responsible for the verification of the packed container’s weight. This requirement will become legally effective on July 1, 2016. After that date, it would be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container onto a vessel if the vessel operator and marine terminal operator do not have a verified container weight.
The Shipper (listed as shipper in the bill of lading or sea waybill) is responsible for providing the VGM to the carrier in reasonable time prior to vessel loading.
The VGM consists of cargo weight including packaging and dunnage (securing) materials and tare weight of container.
The Carrier is responsible for relaying the VGM to its terminal.
Container means standard containers, tank containers, flat racks and bulk containers.
The Data to be provided to the carrier consists of the VGM and the shipper’s (Individual’s) authorized signature (can be electronic). Local/national Laws/Rules might require additional data, processes or documents (e.g. weighing note).
The Scale used for weighing has to be calibrated/certified in accordance with local/national Rules.
There are two Methodologies for calculating the VGM:
Weigh the packed/laden container
Weigh all packages, packaging and dunnage material and add the tare weight of the container
Carriers WILL NOT LOAD containers without having VGM
For further information, please see the Maritime and Coastguard Agency website.