SOLAS – Verified Gross Mass (VGM)

Effective July 1st, 2016 – new requirements to verify the gross mass of a packed container will be required, as per The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

In order to comply with the new regulations, shippers will be responsible for certifying the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of all containers, prior to their loading on board vessels.

The VGM includes the mass of all packages and cargo items, pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material inside the container, as well as the tare weight, which appears on the door of the container.

The upcoming SOLAS regulations provide shippers with the choice of two methods for calculating the VGM of a packed container:

  • Method 1. Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or
  • Method 2: Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State, in which packing of the container was completed.

The required VGM certification form for verifying the gross mass of your containers will be provided – both on our website and upon request from our Customer Service Team or OAL Transportation Consultants.

Cut-off times and days for submission of your VGM forms will be provided upon ocean freight bookings.

We urge all of our valued customers to prepare themselves in advance of the upcoming

deadline, to ensure all of your shipments are accompanied with the required VGM forms – by the respective cut-off times.

SOLAS regulations require VGM certifications for any and all containers in order for them to be loaded on our vessels.

It is our intention and goal to assist and guide our customers through the implementation of these new requirements and to ensure your shipments are handled safely, efficiently and in full compliance with the new SOLAS regulations.

Lorenzo J. Lopez

Licensed U.S. Customs broker