Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS)
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) container weight verification rule, issued pursuant to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) goes into effect on July 1, 2016. The U.S. is a party to the SOLAS treaty. The VGM (Verified Gross Mass) rule is intended to provide a reliable, verified container weight to reduce risk of injuries and loss of life to workers involved in ocean transport operations and to ensure that ships are loaded safely and operate within their structural and stability safety limitations.
OTS Astracon is committed to helping our shippers to prepare for the implementation of the new global safety standards.
The amendment to the IMO enforcing the SOLAS, require a packed container to have shipper-verified gross weight as a condition for loading onto a ship for export. Because the shipper is uniquely situated to know and report the weight of the container, the shipper determines the VGM for the loaded container using one of the two methods provided under SOLAS regulations:
1. Weighing the packed container using a calibrated and certified equipment OR
2. Weighing all packages and cargo items, including the weights of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare weight of the container to the sum of the single weights, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.
A person duly authorized by the shipper must certify the VGM by signing the shipping document (first and last name) and providing it to the Ocean Carrier by the VGM cut off time. It is determined that the VGM cut off time is at noon of the VGM cutoff date. If the carrier does not receive the VGM prior to the cut off time, the container cannot be loaded aboard the vessel – “No VGM, No Load” policy. Under the IMO’s International Convention for Safe Containers (CSC), containers with weight higher than the maximum payload will be prohibited from being loaded on board vessels.
The mandatory information required for VGM submission are:
1. Booking Number
2. Container Number
3. Verified Gross Mass
4. Unit of Measure (Kg or Lb)
5. Authorized Person’s Signatory (First and Last Name in Capital letters)
As we get further updates, we will continue to keep you informed on this new regulation.