What is the VGM?
VGM or Verified Gross Mass implicates that the total weight of every container to be loaded on board a vessel must be declared and certified.
This Verified Gross Mass not only includes the weight of the total number of packages loaded inside the container but also all additional weights such as packing/lashing material and the tare weight of the container, i.e. the total weight of the container when being weighted as sealed unit.
What is the SOLAS VGM requirement?
In order to improve safety the merchant must provide the VGM to the ship’s Master or his representative and to the terminal for preparation of the ship stowage plan.
VGM can be submitted to the carrier who will forward the same to the Master and the terminal.
When will the new requirement be applicable?
The VGM requirement will be effective as from 01/07/2016.
For all containers to be loaded on board of vessels as from 01/07/2016 a VGM will be required (transshipment cargo excempted).
How to obtain the VGM
Method 1: weighing
Weighing the packed and sealed container by using calibrated weighing equipment, certified by the State in which the equipment is being used.
The VGM should comply to the regulations of the State where the container is being sealed.
Method 2: calculating
Weighing all individual packages and cargo items as well as all dunnage/lashing/packing material or any other item loaded into the container and add the tare weight of the container.
The tare weight is visible on the exterior of the container door.
This method is subject to approval by the competent authority of the State in which the container is being sealed.
Chapter 5.1.2 of the SOLAS guideline
What details should the VGM contain?
- VGM (and unit of weight, i.e. KG)
- Name of shipper (reference to the Bill of Lading) or authorized representative
- Signature of shipper or of the authorized representative
- Booking number
- Container number
- Weighing method
Will the terminal accept a container without VGM?
Yes, the terminal will accept the container on the terminal without VGM but will not load the container on board unless VGM provided via the carrier as per cut-off.
Who should present the VGM to the carrier?
As per SOLAS regulation the shipper showing in the Bill of Lading or his authorized representative.
Can third parties present the VGM to the carrier?
Yes, provided they have been authorized by the shipper in the Bill of Lading or his authorized representative and they provide the VGM as per cut-off.
Any consequence/risk/charge however remains for account of the shipper.
Responsibility of the shipper or his authorized representative
The shipper (with reference to the B/L) or his authorized representative is responsible for submission of the VGM to the carrier in due time so that carrier can submit same to the Master and the terminal in due time.
The carrier will not investigate correctness of VGM presented by the shipper or his authorized representative and any consequences / risks / charges or penalties remain for shipper account.
Any charge relating to VGM is for shipper account.
How to provide the VGM to the carrier
The VGM can be provided to the carrier in electronic form by using following methods:
- Coscon e-business platform
- Vermas EDI
- Electronic shipping instruction (CargoSmart)
- In written form (email)
(At present) Inttra eVGM is not supported.
When should VGM be presented?
As soon as possible after weighing or stuffing a container, preferably before entering the terminal
Carrier VGM cut off:
VGM cut off will be indicated on vessel schedule available at www.coscon.be
Are there any charges involved?
Weighing charges and/or other charges related to weighing are for merchant account.
A VGM submission fee will be applicable in nearby future.
Since charges for manual submission might/will be higher than EDI submission we herewith encourage customers to look for EDI solutions as mentioned above for VGM submission.
Coscon will accept VGM amendments after VGM cut off provided it does not affect vessel stowage plan. VGM amendment is not acceptable if the actual stowage has finished.
All consequences and risks relating to VGM amendment are for account of the shipper.
VGM and Shipping documents/Bill of Lading
The VGM weight is the total weight of the packed and sealed unit. The weight on the Bill of Lading only reflects the total payload (without container tare).
The VGM is a requirement of SOLAS whilst the gross weight is used for trade business.
Therefore both VGM and gross weight of payload (cargo) to be communicated to the carrier.
What in case VGM is not presented (in due time)?
In case VGM is not provided the authorities do not allow loading of the container on board. Any consequence/charge resulting from missing VGM is for shipper account.