SOLAS VGM (Verified Gross Mass) Requirement

Dear Safmarine Customer,

Following earlier communication on the implementation of the new SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) requirement for the verification of container weights, we would like to provide you with further details pertaining to this requirement.

As already announced, effective July 1st, 2016, every packed export container is required to have a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) as a condition of loading aboard a vessel. Safmarine supports this requirement as it promotes safety across the industry, including for our customers and their cargoes, landside personnel and subsequently our employees and vessels.

In order to meet the July 1st deadline, we are readying our systems and processes to support the submission of a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) from our customers. Our goal is to facilitate an easy submission of a VGM and a consistent information exchange with terminal operators. Below are the main principles Safmarine will be adopting under the new requirement.

Who Submits the VGM to Safmarine?

As per the SOLAS requirement, the Shipper noted on the Bill of Lading will be the party responsible for providing the carrier and the terminal operator the VGM. In the case of Safmarine, the VGM information flow will begin with the Shipper who submits the information to Safmarine, who subsequently sends the information to the terminal. In the instance that a Shipper uses the terminal’s weighing service to obtain VGM data, the information will flow from the Terminal to the Shipper, who then submits the information to Safmarine. Often the Terminal will also send the VGM directly to Safmarine.

How do I calculate the VGM?

Shippers may use one of two methods to determine the VGM:

Method 1 - Weighing the fully loaded container after it has been packed.
Method 2 - Weighing the contents of the container, including cargo and any packing materials, and then adding that to the tare weight of the container printed on the door. If using Method 2, Safmarine will be launching a solution to facilitate this method for customers by providing a convenient way to lookup the container tare weight on our website

How should I submit the VGM to Safmarine?

The preferred method for submission of a VGM to Safmarine is through one or any of the digital channels mentioned below:

  • Via our website and login through our MySafmarine Line portal. This solution is available from June 5th 2016.
  • Via EDI message for customers sending booking or shipping instructions via EDI solutions with Safmarine.

Manual methods of submission (email, fax or phone) are also acceptable but not encouraged - the preferred methods are the established digital channels to avoid documentation errors and delays in handover of information.

What are the cut-offs for VGM submission?

VGM cut-off vessel/voyage will be below.

Service Point Service Route VGM Cutoff
Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) MECL Service  North America, Mediterranean Mon 08:00
Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) Far East Service  Far East Tue 13:00
Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT) Mawingu Service  Middle East, East Africa, West Africa, North Europe Thu 13:00
Qasim International Container Terminal (QICT)  Masiika Service  Middle East, East Africa, South Africa, Mediterranean  Fri 13:00
Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT)  S21 Service  Intra Gulf  Fri 13:00

What are the consequences of not submitting a VGM before cut-off?

Several outcomes may occur should no VGM be provided to Safmarine before cut-off:

  • As already noted, no container will be loaded on board a vessel without a VGM. Delays on your cargo may impact the fluidity of your supply chain should a container not load its planned voyage due to an absence of a VGM. Additionally, potential demurrage and/or detention charges may apply when a container is sitting idle at the terminal awaiting for VGM submission.
  • Should a container mistakenly be loaded to a vessel without a VGM, any transhipment port may refuse to handle the container. Consequently, the vessel or container may be subject to delays or be held at the transhipment terminal.
  • If a container is gated in by the shipper at port without weighment and VGM is not submitted to terminal/carrier, additional cost may incur from the port for handling and weighing the container.

Will Safmarine verify the VGM provided by the Shipper?

Under the SOLAS agreement, Safmarine is not required to verify or compare the VGM provided by the shipper. However, if the terminal questions the declared weight and provides a certified scaled weight for the container, that weight will be used as the VGM for load planning.

For more information about Safmarine’s policy and VGM requirement, please visit our website at on below Important Links.

As always, we thank you for your support and will continue to keep you informed on the implementation of the SOLAS requirement.

For any further queries, please reach your local Safmarine representative.

We would like to express our gratitude to our valued customers for their continued support. We assure you that we shall always strive to provide quality service and we look forward to your cooperation.

Kind Regards,
Safmarine Pakistan
Tel: +92 21 111 723 627
Fax: +92 213 561 1558

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