SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirement Takes Effect July 1

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) verified gross mass (VGM) amendment comes into effect Friday July 1, 2016.

As a reminder, the new rule requires shippers to ensure their packed container’s gross mass be measured, verified and communicated to the terminal and the container line prior to stowage aboard the vessel. If a container is found without a verified gross mass the container line is required not to load the container onto the ship. For additional information on approved weighing methods and requirements please see our VGM Infographic here.

Is the Overall Industry Prepared?

There are multiple different ways of reporting the VGM, what is critical are the data elements that must be provided to the carriers:

  • Booking number
  • Container number
  • Methods used – Method1 or Method 2
  • Verified Gross Mass (VGM) with unit (KGS / LBS)
  • Signature of the shipper or duly authorized person by the shipper (all cap’s is acceptable)
  • Statement of certification attesting to the VGM being accurate

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA), which represents 19 of the largest container lines engaged in international trade, reported recently that it is close to finalizing a standardized plan that would involve the use of on-terminal scales to obtain the Verified Gross Mass of containers.

“While this is expected to alleviate much of the confusion surrounding VGM and simplify the process for most stakeholders, there may be operational constraints that require different processes for determining and transmitting VGM,” OCEMA said in a statement.

Odyssey is Prepared.

Odyssey has taken the necessary steps to ensure we are ready for the transition. We have spoken with multiple stakeholders including truckers, carriers, government agencies and terminal’s to ensure our customers are compliant come July 1. Odyssey has a functional method in place to receive and transmit the container’s Verified Gross Mass. Customers who have a mechanism in place to transmit VGM should already be sending now to ensure a smooth transition upon arrival at the port of load.

As always, Odyssey is monitoring the situation and will continue to provide updates. If you have any specific questions about your supply chain please reach out to your Odyssey representative.