SOLAS Requirements

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require, as a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship for export, that the container has a verified weight. The shipper is responsible for the verification of the packed container’s weight. This requirement will become legally effective on July 1, 2016. After that date, it would be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container onto a vessel if the vessel operator and marine terminal operator do not have a verified container weight.
The SOLAS amendments provide that there are two methods shippers may use to determine the container weight once the container packing process has taken place. This requirement will apply globally. Shippers, freight forwarders, vessel operators, and terminal operators will all need to establish policies and procedures to ensure the implementation of this regulatory change.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, Chapter VI Regulation 2 – Cargo information regarding a mandatory container gross weight verification, together with associated guidelines published as MSC.1/Circ. 1475.

Effective 1st July 2016, all packed containers are required to have a verified gross weight declared by shippers. Starting 1st July 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will enforce globally the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention requirements regarding the verification of the gross weight of packed containers.

What does it mean to provide a Verified Gross Weight (VGW)?
The VGW is the certified Gross Cargo weight (including weight of all packing material) plus Container Tare weight.

Who is responsible to provide the VGW?
The Shipper is responsible to provide the VGW.

What is the date of implementation?
1st of July 2016.

When is VGW required?
VGW is required prior to shipment. Cargo will not be loaded onto a vessel unless a certified VGW is provided.

Why is VGW needed?
This is a Global IMO SOLAS mandatory regulatory requirement. VGW is used for vessel planning and safe stowage.

What happens if VGW cannot be provided?
Cargo will not be loaded.

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