Antrak Logistics wishes to advise that an amended Container Weight Verification regulation was implemented globally on July 1st, 2016.
This regulation is issued by the “Safety of Life at Sea” Convention (SOLAS) under instruction from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and is applicable to all cargo shipped via road or sea. This is an international standard that will apply to all countries who are signatories to the IMO. A list of IMO member states is available from the below link:
In recent years there have been a number of major accidents caused by Carriers transporting misdeclared, overweight containers. These incidents have prompted the international shipping community to take action to prevent incorrect cargo weight declarations. The IMO, in collaboration with industry representatives, has adopted specific rules under the SOLAS Convention, known as the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) protocol. The purpose of the VGM is to allow the verification of the declared gross weight of goods to enable road haulage contractors and sea freight Carriers to ensure that transport operations are conducted within legal limits. VGM declarations are also used by Carriers and terminal operators to prepare vessel stowage plans prior to loading cargo on ships.
VGM is the declared total gross mass of general cargo, break bulk and packed containers (General Purpose, Open Top and Flat rack units, ISO tank and bulk containers) as presented for export. For containerized cargoes, the VGM is the sum of the weight of cargo, lashing materials and the tare weight of the container, which is noted on the door and container flank.
The VGM declaration must align with Gross Weight recorded on Shippers’ packing list and on the Bill of Lading.
How can the VGM be determined?
The IMO will recognize two ways to determine VGM in accordance with the new SOLAS regulation:
The Shipper (or a designated third party) weighs the container with an approved device after it has been stuffed and sealed.
The Shipper (or a designated third party) weighs each item to be stuffed in the container or presented for shipment as Break bulk. The weight comprises of the goods, the packing materials (including pallets) and fixing/lashing materials required to secure goods for transport.
Note the IMO requires that correctly certified calibrated scales must be used to weigh cargo. A list of approved weighing equipment is available on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority website
Who is responsible for issue of VGM declaration?
Under SOLAS regulations the Shipper is responsible for reporting the VGM of all cargo.
FCL: The Shipper must provide an accurate gross weight of each package on its packing lists, and the sum total weight of packed goods, including the Container tare weight and lashing materials, on the VGM declaration. Shippers will be required to submit the VGM declaration to Antrak Logistics one working day prior to cargo collection.
LCL/FCL (Consolidation containers), Under SOLAS regulations Antrak Logistics will be considered the Shipper and will be responsible for providing the VGM of the stowed container to the Carrier. In order to meet its obligations under SOLAS regulations Antrak will weigh each item to be stuffed into the container. Shippers remain responsible for provision of the VGM for all cargo presented for shipment in consolidated containers. Antrak cannot accept cargo without presentation of a VGM declaration.
Whilst there is currently no defined format for VGM declarations, it must state:
VGM (Verified Gross Mass -> Numeric weight)
UOM (Unit of Measurement/ KGM, TNE, TON or LBS)
Name and Signature of the Shipper’s authorized nominee
The declaration must be presented on Shippers Letterhead
The VGM declaration must be submitted to Antrak Logistics prior to cargo collection ex Shipper’s works for delivery to the port terminal or delivery to Antrak depot (sub purchase terms). The VGM may be transmitted to Antrak electronically or by written notice.
Carriers WILL NOT LOAD containers or LCL cargo without a VGM declaration.
Any discrepancies between declared and actual cargo weights will require the Shipper to amend their documentation prior to cargo collection. Noncompliance with VGM requirements or incorrect declarations runs the risk of missing an intended sailing and accrual of additional costs.
Any fees which may arise from lack or improper declaration of VGM, will be passed to Clients for recovery from Shippers. Antrak reserve the right to direct containers to a weighbridge if we believe there is a discrepancy between declared and actual FCL weight. Weighbridge diversion and weight costs will be levied at cost + Antrak management fee.
Incorrect VGM declarations may result in Shippers incurring penalty under local road transport regulations.
Carriers in Australia advised 17th June 2016 that in order to ensure that all containers loaded onto vessels ex Australian Ports are compliant from 1st July, that the implementation date for reporting this information will be 22nd June 2016.
For further information please contact
Mal Bosco Projects Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason Rigoli Supply Chain Manager email@example.com
Alan Simpson R&D Manager firstname.lastname@example.org