SOLAS Weight Initiative – Safety First! – Verified Gross Mass

Effective 1st July 2016, all packed containers are required to have a verified gross weight declared by shippers. Starting 1st July 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will enforce the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) requirements regarding the verification of the gross mass of packed containers.

“A packed container will not be allowed to be loaded on board vessels to which the SOLAS Convention applies unless the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of the container has been provided to the ship’s master or his representative and to the terminal or its representative sufficiently in advance to allow for the edition of the loading plan.”


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The responsibility for obtaining and documenting the Verified Gross Mass of a packed container lies with the shipper.

The Verified Gross Mass, also known as the VGM, means the total gross mass of a packed container which can be obtained by one of the two methods described below:

  • Method #1 – Using calibrated and certified equipment, the shipper or a third party duly appointed by the shipper weighs the packed container at the end of the stuffing operation once the seal is affixed.
  • Method #2 – The shipper or a third party, by arrangement of the shipper, weighs all packages, cargo items, pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material and adds the tare mass of the container. The total sum finally obtained is the weight to be provided. This method is subject to certification and approval by the competent authority of the State in which the packing and sealing of the container was completed.

Please also be reminded of this regulation: If the Verified Gross Mass is not provided, the container will not be loaded onto the ship.