SOLAS VGM Commonly Asked Questions

SOLAS VGM FAQ

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and also avaliable on our YouTube channel

What is VGM ?

VGM = Verified Gross Mass, which is the total weight of the container + the cargo itself.  VGM must be submitted prior to loading the container on the vessel, or a delay in loading.  Carriers express “No VGM, No load”

Who created the rule?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the World Shipping Council, trade organizations that represent container liner companies, will require verification of container weights at origin set for July 1, 2016. The amendment created to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires the verified gross mass (VGM) of containers to be documented before they can be loaded on ships.

Who is responsible?

Simply stated, the shipper name listed on the master bill of lading.  It may include of the following parties:

  • The beneficial cargo owner (owner of the goods; the exporter)
  • The non vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) or
  • The master loader: entity that consolidates various shippers’ cargo
How to find certified weighing facilities:

All certified container-weighing equipment currently now in use in the U.S.A. and in compliance with federal or state laws, including the Intermodal Safe Container Transportation Act and the container weight requirements in 29 CFR 1918.85(b) is allowed and considered compliant with the SOLAS regulation.Ports in USA that offer weighing services:

  • Georgia Ports Authority
  • South Carolina Ports Authority
  • North Carolina State Ports Authority
  • Port of Houston Authority
  • Port of Virginia
  • Massachusetts Port Authority

Terminal operators in the USA that offer weighing services:

  • Port Everglades
  • Port of New York / New Jersey
  • Port of Oakland
  • Port of L.A. / Long Beach
How to communicate VGM:

VGM can be submitted electronically via EDI messages called VERMAS with the code of 304, INTTRA, GT Nexus, Cargosmart, Mobileweight.com or via a carrier’s own electronic portal. Scarbrough will submit VGM for clients to the carrier.  Shippers must send their weight to Scarbrough.

How to verify Weight:

Two Methods for Weighing + One more.

Method 1:  requires weighing the container after loading of all goods. Many ports are offering a weighing service at the terminal prior to loading the container on the vessel.  Shipper can also weigh container over a weigh bridge, then subtract the weight of the truck, chassis and fuel to get the weight of the packed container.

The weighing equipment used in Method 1 must meet certification and calibration requirements.  All certified container-weighing equipment currently now in use in the U.S.A. and in compliance with federal or state laws, including the Intermodal Safe Container Transportation Act and the container weight requirements in 29 CFR 1918.85(b) is allowed and considered compliant with the SOLAS regulation.

**Bulk cargo such as scrap metal, unbagged grain MUST be weighed by this method.

Method 2: requires weighing the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the tare weight of the container, which can be found on the rear door of the container or in some cases, on the carrier’s website.

Note: No weight estimation allowed.

Terminal Weighing Approach: 

The 19 ocean carrier members of the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (“OCEMA”) strategized together to streamline the “Terminal Weighing Approach” – providing VGM at port locations. The Agreement became effective on Friday, June 24.

  • South Carolina Ports Authority
  • Georgia Ports Authority
  • North Carolina State Ports Authority
  • Port of Houston Authority
  • The Port of Virginia and Virginia International Terminals
  • Massachusetts Port Authority

What is the link for OCEMA Process Map to submit VGM?  Download Process Map

What is the link for OCEMA’s best practices guide to submit VGM?   Download Recommendations

View OCEMA’s Best Practices for VGM

 


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Watch more of our YouTube Short answers

QuestionAnswer
View full webinarWatch now
Introduction to Verified Gross Mass or Weight Verification Requirement. Watch Now
What happens to containers that boarded vessels without VGM?View Answer
Is there a tolerance that is allow on reported weights per container?View Answer
How does a truck driver provide weight verification? View Answer
Do the factories in China understand VGM ?View Answer
What type of tolerance between the scale weight and actual weight is there? View Answer
What is the Terminal Weighing Approach? View Answer
Are overseas carriers sending confirmations to forwarders that they have received the VGM? View Answer
If a driver loses a scale ticket before sending it what would you suggest we do as a shipper? View Answer
Is there any way to incorporate the SOLAS form in the BOL?View Answer
What happens to goods that are imported into the USA without a VGM after the grace period? View Answer
Will there be a standard form that the exporter will need to complete with each ocean freight?View Answer
What will happen in winter when snow and ice can accumulate on containers? View Answer
Who is checking our VGM?View Answer
Is it required to specify which method we used to determine VGM? View Answer
Does the shipper have to fill out a form to prove the weight?View Answer
Is it a problem to over-report weight?View Answer
Do we have time to weigh container if we load close to cut off date?View Answer
Should we submit the VGM as the shipper or should my customer submit the VGM themselves?View Answer
Will there be fines if the carrier checks and the weights do not match?View Answer
Prior to July 1, 2016, American Shipper conducted a Survey. View results
Who is responsible for providing the container weight?View Answer
What is the total weight allowed?View Answer
What is the responsibility or liability of the consignee?View Answer
Who is responsible for LCL cargo?View Answer
What is the background on Verified Weight Requirement / VGM anyway?View Answer
What about multi-vendor consolidations?View Answer

Previous webinar questions and answers


Certified Weight Scale certificate Watch Now
Will scales need to be certified by outside agencies? Watch Now
How and to who should I provide the information to? Watch Now
Shipper responsible for weight? Watch Now
Will weight variance be allowed? Watch Now
Can forwarders with a POA sign on behalf of a company? Watch Now
What is the total weight allowed? Watch Now
What if there is a discrepancy? Penalties? Watch Now
Weigh, Time, Expense, Capacity, and more Watch Now
Shipper and Carrier Contracts Watch Now
Will this be processed with AES ? Watch Now
Is this a Worldwide regulation? Watch Now
Conclusion

View full webinar here.