Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for shipments out of South African Ports

Dear Safmarine Customer,

As we prepare for VGM go live next week, we wish recap on procedures for adherence to Port requirements as well as guidance from a Shipping Line perspective. We encourage you to please share this update with your entire supply chain.

At Safmarine we know that safety is crucial in our industry and we support initiatives that drive safety at sea. The incorrect declaration of container weight has led to accidents in the past and continues to pose a huge risk. Consequently, effective July 1st 2016, the new regulation requires shippers to verify and provide the container's gross verified mass before it is being loaded onto a ship. This regulation will be enforced globally, but countries can issue their own guidelines based on SOLAS requirement. This may affect cut-off times, VGM tolerance allowances etc. which may differ country to country. For us, all South African Marine Ports will be subject to the guidelines of SAMSA and Transnet Port Authourities which we have referred to below.

From a South African Marine Ports implementation perspective:

As per the attached Minutes of Transnet TPT Edi Forum Minutes dated Monday 20th June 2016

An important reminder “From 27th June 2016, TPT will switch on the gate rules and all export pre-advice for full containers will require all VGM information” prior gate in

We thus wish to bring this very important aspect to your attention. In effect Monday 27th June will mean No VGM/No Gate In thus not in stack for Load.

The following fields are required for Export Pre-Advice:

  • Gross Mass (as before)
  • VGM
  • Method
  • Designated Person
  • SAMSA Accreditation # (for Method 2 only)

Validation of information

SAMSA will periodically perform checks on the Accreditation # and VGM Verifier from the Navis data. Gross mass is still a required field for empties and in most cases will be the same as the VGM for full containers. However, these weights can deviate, as Gross mass is used for customs and VGM is used for planning purposes.

Changes to VGM (within Navis)

If the VGM content needs to be changed after a container is in the terminal, a request must be issued to TPT to process a manual change.

We invite you to refer to our comprehensive Global Shippers Guideline if you have not already done so. Below are some topics from a Shipping Line perspective that we wish to bring to your attention:

Will the VGM show on the Bill of Lading?

No, it will not. The VGM is declared separately from the gross cargo weight entered in the Bill of Lading.

Tare Weight

The weight indicated on the container door (CSC Plate) should be considered as accurate tare weight.

Chasing Missing VGM

Our global sites and guidelines make reference to Safmarine chasing Missing VGM details. However the local “No VGM/No Gate In” for South African Marine Ports means that there is no need to perform this follow up.

Important Links

Rest assured our customers remain at the centre of what we do, now and into the future. Our goal is to deliver a reliable, efficient and professional service. We also provide you with access to the dedicated people at Safmarine who have the knowledge and expertise to assist you with the successful transportation of your cargo.

Should you have further queries, please contact your local Safmarine office.

Cape Town (021) 408 6911
Port Elizabeth (041) 501 3000
East London (043) 813 0100
Durban (031) 336 7200
Johannesburg (011) 277 3500

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