Solas VGM

Understanding the IMO SOLAS VGM Act – Will your container be weighed in the port, by the port? by Andy Connellsolas vgm

Not likely at all.

The shipper must present equipment for loading with the VGM pre-determined well before arrival at the entry gate to the export terminal.

Do not expect that the weight you have given will be cross-checked by the port. It will not be.

This is not their scope of terminal work and is far too debilitating to contemplate beyond random sampling.

It is also not the scope of the work for your carrier either.

It is up to the new link in the supply chain- your country’s Maritime Safety Authority to ensure YOU, the shipper, have correctly stated your VGM of all equipment tendered for shipment.

Should the Maritime Safety Authority deem it necessary to have container mass verified they will instruct the shipper/agent to divert to a weighbridge before port arrival, to check that the VGM specified on the pre-advice is indeed inside acceptable parameters.

This will be more to monitor the accredited agencies that endorse the Verified Gross Mass on behalf of the maritime safety authority.

Defaulters can expect heavy sanction if they are caught flagrantly neglecting their duties.

The accredited 3PL that endorses your VGM will in turn hit the shipper hard and may even force the shipper to pass a weighbridge if their deducted VGM of Method 2 is not consistently reliable.


It’s long past high time shippers were brought into line on this incredible important aspect of supply chain logistics.

Shippers have always focused upon nett weight of cargo because of import customs duty which is imposed upon the nett mass of the product.

And haven’t they had to get that right! And they have.


But carriers allowed the shipper to become blasé about the gross mass for so long over such a long period that shippers never bothered to really determine the real gross mass.


What mattered most for the carrier was securing cargo for shipment to pay for the slot on a less than FULL vessel! True story.

It is only when slots started to fill that they discovered the monumental impact these bad habits that had crept in to the supply chain had on maritime safety.


This sorry state of affairs comes to an abrupt end on July 1 2016 and stop crying about it.

It should have been a good habit since 1977.

And by August 2016, this will be old hat and by December 2016, it will just be part of the supply chain as it is anyway and we will not remember the bad old days when we just sucked the gross mass out of vague calculations done in the air