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Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Update

Posted on 06-27-2016 by Lucia Garza

Effective July 1, 2016, the International Maritime Organization will mandate amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention requiring shippers to Verify the Gross Mass (VGM) of a container carrying cargo.


SOLAS regulations call for the shipper to provide the VGM to the relevant parties. As shipper of record on the Master Bill of Lading, Posey International will consider the declared weight provided by our clients/shippers as the certified weight to be used in determining and submitting VGM by means of Method 2, in accordance with SOLAS guidelines.*

Containers exceeding the maximum payload may not be loaded onto the vessel. In the event that a container’s weight is found to be over the maximum requirement, costs that arise (transport, weighing, repacking, administrative) will be borne by the parties that declared the weight.


Posey will accept VGM submissions as part of the documents tendered with LCL shipments via email.

The required data must include:

  • Verified Gross Mass (unit of measurement must be KG or LBS)
  • Full name of “verifier” duly authorized by the shipper
  • Date
  • Booking #
  • Container # (if FCL shipment)

In the event that the shipper is unable to provide VGM, Posey International will confirm and weigh on behalf of our clients for a nominal fee.

For LCL shipments, it is recommended that shippers finalize VGM data at the time of, or prior to cargo leaving the shipper’s premises to ensure that it is communicated to the carrier and the terminal in a timely manner.

A container without a VGM should not be loaded onto the vessel until its VGM has been obtained. Some terminals may not permit entry of the unit without a declared VGM (whether arriving by road or rail). Other port terminals will offer weighing services for a fee. Fees may vary, as each port/terminal will determine its own fee schedule.

Actual VGM cut-off times will vary by port, terminal or inland container yard.

Should you have any questions, please contact us.


*SOLAS guidelines offer two options for weighing: 

Method 1: Weighing the whole container after it has been packed and sealed. This can be done at certified weighbridge by subtracting the truck and chassis weight.

Method 2: Using certified equipment, weigh all packages and cargo items, including pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material and add the tare mass of the container (marked on the door of the unit).

VGM is defined as the certified/verified weight of all packages and cargo items, packing material and dunnage plus container tare weight, and will be used for vessel planning and safe stowage of containers aboard the vessel.