Dear all members and network partners,

The IMO SOLAS amendment on Container Weight Verification will become effective on 1 July 2016. The main requirement of this amendment is for shippers to provide export full container’s verified gross mass prior to loading. No provision or agreement may override or be in conflict with the obligation to abide by SOLAS rules.

Verified Gross Mass(VGM)

Verified Gross Mass means the total gross mass of a packed container including cargo weight, packing and securing material and container tare weight. This makes VGM different from cargo weight currently printed on the B/L which only measures cargo weight.

 No VGM, No Load

As stated in the IMO guideline, a container without VGM will NOT be loaded on the vessel.

 Implementation Date of VGM

Late May 2016, IMO distributed a circular announcing the permission of packed containers that are loaded on a ship before 1 July 2016 and are transshipped on or after 1 July 2016 to be shipped to final port of discharge without VGM for three months. For all the other shipments loaded on a ship whose departure date is on or later than 1 July,2016, VGM submission is required prior to VGM cut off time, before loading containers on the first vessel.

Measurement of VGM

1. The methods to obtainVGM

A. Method 1–Weighing of a packed container

1) The shipper may weigh the container after it has been packed

2) Method 1 may be used on all kinds of cargoes, especially for types of cargoes where individual weighing is not possible (e.g. scrap metal, un-bagged grain and other cargo in bulk, flexitanks, etc)

B. Method 2 Calculating VGM

1) The shipper may calculate VGM by aggregating the weight of below items

  • Cargo Weight
  • The weight of the packing and securing material to be packed in the container
  • Container tare weight

As per local country rule and regulations, a certificate or approval by a competent authority of the State in which the packing and sealing of the container was completed, could be required to the shipper.

2. The ways to obtain container tare weight

The shipper may obtain the container tare weight by referring to the tare weight printed on the outside of the container.

Submission of VGM

1. VGM submission channel

Customers may submit VGM to United Ocean Lines, their local agents via the attached format.

Using the excel template “Simple VGM”

VGM submission by phone, voice mail or other verbal means is not acceptable.

2. The essential contents when submitting VGM to United Ocean Lines

When VGM is transmitted to United Ocean Lines, its agents, the following information needs to be included.

(any other requirement by national law, it should be added to below essential contents)


  • Booking Number
  • Container Number
  • VGM
  • Methods
  • Unit of Measurement (in kilograms)
  • Responsible Party (Shipper on the B/L)
  • The Name of the Authorized Person in Capital Letters


3. VGM cut-off time

1) General

As VGM cut-off time will vary from each country, terminal, lane, vessel and other factors, we are not able to set a cut-off time across the board. VGM cut off time information will be provided by United Ocean Lines agents at the time of booking along with the booking receipt notice.

4. Consequences of Failing to Submit VGM

  • If VGM is not provided to the carrier in time, the container will not be loaded onto the ship.
  • If the terminal at the port of loading has implemented “No VGM, no gate-in”policy, a container that arrives at the terminal without VGM will not be allowed to gate-in.
  • When a container is not loaded onboard the ship due to the lack of VGM, the additional cost may be passed on to the customer.


5. The responsible party to submit VGM

The shipper stated on the ocean carrier’s Bill of Lading shall be the responsible party to submit VGM to carriers. For co-loading shipment, the “master” NVOCC or Freight Forwarder named on the ocean carrier’s B/L will be the responsible party for the accurate weight verification of all the cargo and all packing or securing material loaded on the container.

Best regards

Jens Philippi

Commercial Manager




Martinistraße 61

28195 Bremen

Office: +4942136900346

Mobile: +491713102779

Skype: jensc.philippi

E-Mail: philippi@unitedoceanlines.com

Website: www.unitedoceanlines.com


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