Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Misdeclaration of cargo weight is a major hazard which often results in cargo claims, structural damages to vessels and also poses a significant risk to the lives of staff.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) convention under regulation 2 of chapter VI which mandates the declaration of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a packed container before loading on board vessels within a prescribed cut-off date/time to the shipping line and/or port terminal authorities.
Effective July 1, 2016, SOLAS regulations for weighing containers allow two ways for weighing packed containers in order to obtain the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for each container by the shipper:
Total Weight of Container – Truck Tractor/Fuel = Loaded Weight
Real weight of the container including tare after the cargo is packed/loaded into the container.
Addition of the whole cargo including packing and the tare weight of the container.
Requires weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container.
VGM has to be indicated on the packing list and should be submitted on or before the document cutoff date. Each carrier has different requirements on when VGM must be submitted.
If shipper does not provide VGM, several possible outcomes may occur, such as, but not limited to the following:
container would be rejected at the terminal
additional costs may incur for the time spent outside the terminal awaiting submission of the VGM
demurrage and/or detention may apply when a container is sitting idle at the terminal awaiting for VGM submission
per diem if container is rejected and booking is rolled
penalties which will be determined by the SOLAS enforcing authority
SOLAS STATEMENT: Customer/Shipper acknowledges that it is required to provide verified weights obtained on calibrated, certified equipment of all cargo that is to be tendered to steamship lines and represents that Company is entitled to rely on the accuracy of such weights and to counter-sign or endorse it as agent of Customer in order to provide the certified weight to the steamship lines. The Customer/Shipper agrees that it shall indemnify and hold the Company harmless from any and all claims, losses, penalties or other costs resulting from any incorrect or questionable statements of the weight provided by the Customer/Shipper or its agent or contractor on which the Company relies.
Images courtesy of CMA CGM
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