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Verified Gross Mass (SOLAS)

The latest amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty introduces new rules regarding container shipping and more specifically, how a containers verified gross mass is calculated prior to loading.

From 1st July 2016 shippers and freight forwarders who arrange the export of goods through sea freight container loads will be required to have the container weight verified prior to loading.

 

How to verify the weight of a container

Two methods of establishing the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a container load have been certified and recommended by the international maritime organisation (IMO):

  1. Weigh the container on a verified weigh bridge, usually located close to the port of loading. This takes into account the weight of the transporting vehicle and the tare weight of the container. Any excess weight would be attributed to the contents of the container.
  2. Combining the weight of each individual piece inside the container including any dunnage, then adding that to the containers tare weight to find the full gross mass.

Accurate and certified equipment must be used at all times in order to establish the true VGM of a container. Many countries including the UK have put a verification scheme in place for all companies wishing to use the second method. This will then allow shippers and forwarders to verify the weight of a container themselves during the loading process.

If you would like to discuss any recent changes to the SOLAS treaty and how they may affect you or your supply chain, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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