SOLAS Advisory Update (VERIFIED GROSS MASS) -1st July 2016



Updated Process


Background by SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea)

To ensure the safety of the ship, the safety of workers both aboard ships and ashore, the safety of cargo and overall safety at sea, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), as amended, requires in chapter VI, part A, regulation 2 that packed containers' gross mass are verified prior to stowage aboard ship.

With effect from 1st July 2016, the shipper is responsible for the verification of the gross mass of a container carrying cargo (hereinafter "a packed container"). The shipper is also responsible for ensuring that the verified gross mass is communicated to the port/terminal sufficiently in advance, to be used by the ship's master or his representative and the terminal representative in the preparation of the ship stowage plan. In the absence of the shipper providing the verified gross mass of the packed container, the container should not be loaded on to the ship, unless the master or his representative and the terminal representative, have obtained the verified gross mass through other means.

Please refer to the guidelines for improving safety and implementation the SOLAS container weight verification requirements as previously posted.

What is Verified Gross Mass (VGM)?

VGM is the total gross mass of a packed container. It comprises of the cargo weight, the weight of the packaging materials used and the container tare weight.

 Methods to be used for VGM declaration

The following are the two methods offered by the SOLAS Convention:

 Method 1 – Weighing

The packed container may be weighed at the weighbridge, scale, lifting equipment or any other device that meets the accuracy standards and requirements of the State. A transport Fee is applicable for this service.


Method 2 – Calculating

All packages/items loaded into the container may be weighed individually. The weight of the packaging materials such as dunnage, pallets and materials used for securing the cargo in the container are to be included.

The tare weight of the container is to be included (the tare weight can be found on the CSC plate on door of the container)

Who is Responsible to declare VGM?

The shipper named in the Bill of Lading is responsible for the VGM. The signatory of the VGM declaration must be duly authorized by the shipper.

When to Submit the VGM ?

VGM submission must be provided to the terminal/port prior to Gate In at terminal/port by the appropriate method acceptable to both parties. Vessel cut-off dates/times may vary from port to port. It is therefore important for shippers to obtain the cut-off date/time from your local office/branch.

Methods to submit VGM data information

1. Shipper needs to supply VGM to Terminal/Port only as per above, and the requirements vary or each carrier. Your BRiNZ Team will assist with this process.

 2. Shipper is to provide this information to BRiNZ which will then be provided to the nominated carrier for your FCL consignment.

Important Reminder

Please be reminded that neither BRiNZ nor the Terminal/Port will accept any VGM declaration verbally by phone call or voice message, Social Media or SMS of any form.

What are the consequences if the VGM is not available or is inaccurate?

The vessel operator is prohibited to load the packed container onto the vessel without a correct VGM.

The shipper will be liable for any cost that may arise (but not limited to weighing costs, shut out cost, storage cost levied by the local authorities/terminals, demurrage and other administrative costs).

Container Tare Weight

To assist our customers the most accurate tare weight can be found on the container door. As carrier equipment tare weights differ this is the commonly displayed and most effective means of obtaining this information.

We thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

Please contact your BRiNZ local agent or visit our website for the latest VGM information.


Keeping you informed

Michael Tisch


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