Safety of Life at

Sea Convention (SOLAS)

SOLAS Convention – Container Weight Verification Requirement

Effective 1 July 2016

Shipping containers is a pretty safe business. However, in recent years, the industry has seen some major incidents at sea and on shore arising from packed containers that had incorrect weight declarations. To prevent these, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in collaboration with industry representatives, has therefore adopted specific rules as part of the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention including a Verified Gross Mass (VGM).

The purpose of the VGM requirement is to obtain an accurate gross weight of packed containers so that vessel and terminal operators can prepare vessel stowage plans prior to loading cargo on ships. The requirement will protect vessel and terminal operators’ people and assets, as well as shippers’ cargo.

What will change as of 1 July 2016?

Immediate consequences for the shipper are that as of July 2016, the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) weight of every container needs to be provided to the carrier, before the load list cut-off.

Furthermore, it will be the shipper’s responsibility to ensure that the accurate weight is being provided.  If no Verified Gross Mass weight has been provided, the container will not be loaded on to the vessel.

Two permissible methods for weighing:

  • Method 1: Weigh the packed container.
  • Method 2: Weigh the cargo and other contents and add tare mass of the container.

DHL is helping you to manage and comply with this new convention. For more information please refer to below documents or contact your local DHL Global Forwarding Sales or Customer Service representative.