The new SOLAS regulation requiring shippers to declare Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of their containers and cargo contents goes into effect worldwide on July 1, 2016. AG World will be enacting new policies and procedures to help exporters quickly and efficiently submit VGM weights to ocean carriers.
This message will serve as a general overview of AG World’s new SOLAS policies and procedures.
The purpose of the 2016 SOLAS amendment is to improve the safety of dock workers and marine crew worldwide. AG World recognizes that declarations of VGM may reduce the number of accidents at sea and on marine terminals. We are committed to improving safety standards within our industry, while providing our customers with an effective solution that ensures containers are loaded on time.
To comply with the SOLAS amendment, we will be asking exporters to:
- Sign a statement confirming their understanding of the SOLAS requirement
- Declare their shipment’s VGM as an addendum to the Shipper’s Letter of Instruction.
AG World will then transmit the information to the carrier in the regular flow of documentation and in time for the ship to plan stowage.
Declaring the VGM:
The VGM (as defined in the IMO Guidelines Regarding the Verified Gross Mass of a Container Carrying Cargo, paragraph 2.1. MSC.1/Circ.1475), can be determined by
- weighing the container after it has been packed, or by
- weighing all the cargo and contents of the container and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight.
If the exporter opts to weigh the container themselves, AG World will be relying on them to correctly declare the total weight of their containers and contents. Responsibility for any fees or penalties charged by terminals, carriers, or local authorities because of incorrect weights will lie with the exporter.
If the exporter would like AG World to arrange for the shipment to be weighed, then a weighing fee (at cost) will be charged. Some terminals in the USA ports may offer container weighing services for SOLAS on-terminal, the additional VGM method recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG Declaration of Equivalency, April 28, 2016). Please check with your local AG World representative to see if this option is available at your port/terminal of lading.
These procedures are a simple way for exporters to declare VGM. Nevertheless, they will add cost to the logistics process. As such, we will be implementing new fees to cover the additional expenses:
VGM Transmission Service $25 handling per container or LCL shipment
Weighing Service (if applicable) At cost (per local facility)
VGM Re-submission $25 re-submission fee for cargo with incorrect weights
Please download the forms you will need to declare VGM to comply with SOLAS, the Acknowledgement Form and the Shipper's Letter of Instruction with Addendum. We look forward to integrating these new processes with no delays or disruptions to the supply chain. If you have questions, please contact your local AG World representative.
Photo courtesy of Peter Kaminski