Since July 1, 2016, companies referred to as « shippers » of goods now have to declare the verified gross mass (VGM) of their containers prior to delivery to the port terminal. Such is the requirement of the new SOLAS agreement (Safety Of Life At Sea).

The responsibility for that declaration, with the ship owner and the terminal, weighs on the shipper and two methods have been approved to determine the verified gross mass :

  • Actual weight of the container including the tare, the goods and their packing after the seals are placed,
  • Weight of all the goods including packaging (particularly pallets and fasteners) and the container tare.

We suggest in this new article a reminder on the objectives of the program and especially SOLAS two models returns for your containers.

SOLAS Agreement : summary

From a logistics organisation point of view, it is crucial that that verified gross mass be available early enough to allow to prepare the ship loading plan and not delay or even threaten the loading of the container.

In case number two, the weighing method should be approved by the public authority of the packaging of the container. The procedure also includes weighing or collecting from the manufacturers the weight of the goods, of the packaging and more generally of anything found in the container, and then adding the empty tare of the container (the tare should be noted on the right hand side door of the container).

Be careful not to mistake the verified gross mass and the gross weight of the goods which appear for instance on the maritime delivery slip or the shipping documents.

In France, in its ministerial order published on 28 May 2016, Public Services admits a 5 % tolerance (plus or minus) between the declared weight of a container and its actual weight. There is no requirement to have certified the calculation method nonetheless in the event of a check or improper declaratio

Declaration forms for Solas agreement

Without the verified gross mass declaration, the container cannot be loaded on board the ship.

Do not hesitate to ask us for declaration forms to attest and certify the verified gross weight of the goods or the verified gross mass of the container (VGM).

The verified gross mass should be entered in the AP+ system before the physical entry of the container or of the goods in the terminal.

If the verified gross mass is not entered in AP+, and if there is no document produced by the driver attesting it, the container will always be weighed at the terminal. This action will result in an invoice that remains to be defined.

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