SOLAS VGM – probably a term which may have slipped many people’s minds as it seems to have successfully integrated itself into the mainstream container shipping process since its mandatory implementation in July 2016.. Now it seems to be back, but in a good way though..
In July 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued a mandatory requirement which required all shipping containers to be weighed and the weight information (Verified Gross Mass) be provided to the shipping lines as part of the SOLAS (Safety of Life At Sea convention) Chapter VI Regulation 2..
This requirement came on the back of continued misdeclaration of weights by shippers many of which resulted in incidents at sea causing loss of property and/or lives..
The regulation allowed shippers to provide the VGM to the carriers using two different methods
- Weigh the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment like a weighbridge to get the VGM
- Weigh the cargo, dunnage, lashing material and add the tare weight of the container to get the VGM
Although there has not been any real comments or incidents relating to the misdeclaration of weights after the implementation of the SOLAS VGM regulation in 2016, it has been reported that shipping industry has been struggling with Method 1, as physically weighing every shipping container requires significant efforts and costly, space-consuming scales..
Well, it seems there is a solution for that..