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THE SOLAS REQUIREMENT FOR VERIFIED GROSS MASS OF CONTAINERS

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regarding weight verification requirements, effective 1 July 2016. As the SOLAS Convention is a mandatory global law, these amendments will apply to most containerized maritime shipping and will have an impact on operational practices globally.

The regulations require the shippers of all containers to provide a weight certificate showing the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of the container and its contents to the carrier sufficiently in advance of vessel loading so it can be used in the preparation of the vessel. The requirement will protect vessel and terminal operators. No containerized cargo will be loaded on a vessel unless the shipper has provided a signed weight verification to the carrier.

Who is responsible for providing the verified gross mass (VGM)?
The Shipper (named on the ocean bill of lading or sea waybill) is the party responsible for providing the ocean carrier and/or the terminal operator with the VGM of a packed container.

Shipping lines and JAS Forwarding are not responsible for verifying this information. A shipper can authorize a third party to provide the VGM on their behalf

The VGM will not show on the Bill of Lading. It is declared separately from the gross cargo weight entered in the Bill of Lading.

How to determine the VGM?
There are two methods of verifying the gross mass of a container carrying cargo.

  • Method 1: Weighing
    After a container has been completely packed, the container can be weighed.
  • Method 2: Calculating
    All packages and cargo items may be weighed individually, including dunnage, packing and securing material and added to tare of the container.

Is there a deadline for providing the VGM?

The VGM is required in order to prepare the stowage plan of the ship prior to loading. And without exception, it always remains in the responsibility of the shipper that the carrier and terminal operator receive the information in reasonable time. The VGM cut off will be provided on the booking confirmation.

In order to ensure your containers will be loaded, VGM must be submitted towards JAS prior to the VGM cut off on the booking confirmation.

What if VGM is missing?
SOLAS imposes an obligation on the carrier and the terminal operator not to load a packed container aboard a ship without VGM for that container.

NO VGM => NO LOAD

JAS VGM Weight Certificates

 JAS has created a weight certificate for submitting VGM information for FCL cargo and a separate weight certificate for LCL cargo.


For FCL shipments, the certificate must provide:

  • Booking number
  • Date of verification
  • VGM per container (cargo weight, loading material/pallets/skids, dunnage, securing material, tare weight of container)
  • Method of obtaining the VGM (Method 1 or Method 2)
  • Signature (name in capital letters for EDI) of person authorized by shipper and company details
  • Additional information and/or documents, if any as required by relevant state (government) authorities
  •   FCL FORM (PDF)

  • NOTE: For LCL shipments, a certificate is not required.  

    We assume that the weight of any given LCL shipment, as submitted to us by you/on your behalf, is true and accurate.

    Unless specifically requested, LCL cargo will not be weighed at the CFS.

    Upon completion of the consolidation, In case the VGM exceeds the maximum payload of the container, all relevant reloading and weighing costs of the individual shipments and transport costs will be charged to the party or parties who have mis-declared the weight

  • For the sake of due diligence, we will be performing spot checks on individual shipments upon receipt at our CFS's.

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    JAS is working closely with our partner carriers and e-commerce partners in order to have efficient and reliable global communication standards and processes in place.

    JAS Forwarding takes safety and compliance with all relevant regulations very seriously and we rely on you to assist us in this process.

    What are the issues and penalties if VGM is missing?
    SOLAS imposes an obligation on the carrier and the terminal operator not to load a packed container aboard a ship without VGM for that container. Compliance with this obligation by the carrier and terminal operator may result in commercial and operational penalties, such as delayed shipment and additional costs if the shipper has not provided the VGM. The penalties may involve repacking costs, administration fees for amending documents, demurrage charges, delayed or cancelled shipments etc.

    Country Specific Requirements:

    Regional Implementation Information


    Place your cursor over the geographic region to learn more about each country’s implementation guidelines and regulations.
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