The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, determines that from July 1st, 2016, all shippers are required to provide the master of the vessel, or their representatives, the appropriate statement on the gross weight of containers with sufficient advance of the shipment in order to ensure that the ship's loading plan is made in advance, allowing the transport of the load safely.
If the requirement of Gross Verified Weight, identified in the international standard by the acronym VGM (Verified Gross Mass) and the communication is not met within the deadline set by the shipping lines, the container cannot be transported, because it violates the SOLAS Convention.
The Transitex makes available to shippers all the support for the adaptation to the new rules of weighing loads and communication of Gross Weight Checking for the compliance with this obligation.
1. What is VGM (Verified Gross Mass)?
VGM means that the weight of each full container should be checked. VGM not only considers all packaging and freight volume within the container, but also considers the tare weight and all materials used for packaging (e.g. straps).
Note: VGM should not be confused with the weight stated in the Booking Confirmation and BL or the weight declared for Customs Clearance procedures, that should be kept unchanged.
2. Responsible for VGM statement?
The shipper that is designated Shipper/Consignor in the Bill of Lading or equivalent document of multimodal transport and/or as set out in the transport contract with the shipping company.
Note: The responsibility for the Weight Verified statement is from the shipper, therefore will be disregarded any statement issued by third parties and have no boot authorization to manage information VGM.
3. As can be determined VGM?
There are two ways to determine the VGM, according to the SOLAS Convention:
Once the container has been completely closed and sealed, it must be weighed. Weighing can be performed by the shipper or by a third party hired by Consignor (see section 5.11 of SOLAS guide).
Any folding, automatic folding, lifting equipment or other mechanism used to check the gross weight of the container to be within the standards and requirements of the State where the equipment is used.
All packaging and load volumes must be weighed individually (including the weight of the pallets, as well as the charge and security materials) and should be added to the tare weight of the container - CSC plate visible in the container.
Note: The technical and regulatory mechanisms for mandatory use of the gross weight of the verification methods should respect the resolutions applied in each country. The legislation in country of shipment shall be responsible for regulation of metrological standards of equipment used for weighing and enabling the shipper itself or entity contracted to carry out the gross weight check (VGM).
4. What is the deadline for communication of the VGM?
It is important to pay careful attention to the shipping days when the vessel reserve is done because, in general, the navigation agencies are requesting that the VGM is informed 48 hours before the departure of the vessel, under penalty of the containers not boarding.
As the VGM statement is related to the Safety of Navigation and depends on the ship's plan, every reservation must be confirmed with the VGM term applied by the shipping company involved. The local office of Transitex will be available for guidance.
Note: Port terminals and shipping agencies may request the balance of bead used to check the VGM.
5. Documents for Inspection
The VGM information should be made by the shipper via document, sent prior to shipment within the period specified by the shipping agency. For monitoring purposes, the shipper should keep available the evidence of gross weight checked for each consolidated container, which are attested by documentation that contains the minimum elements established by the SOLAS Convention.
Transitex makes available to shippers the drafts of the statements to be issued, according to the verification method described in paragraph 3.
Note: The document related to the VGM declaration must be completed and signed by the shipper. The model to be used will be sent by Transitex staff in the moment of the booking request (Booking Confirmation).