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Update to SOLAS VGM – South Africa Version

Further to my previous article reg SOLAS VGM – South Africa Version, came across two interesting news items from FTW Online..

TFR to provide exporters with VGM service

These include Bayhead, City Deep, Kazcon, Eastcon, Newcon, Belcon, Bloemcon, Pretcon and Vaalcon,TFR to provide exporters with VGM service All TFR weighbridges comply with all legal requirements, a general manager commercial, Nisha Jones, said.

“When an export container is gated in at a TFR terminal equipped with a weighbridge, TFR will update the VGM field with the weighbridge mass and send this mass information to TPT as part of the rail pre-advice,” said Jones.

“However for all seaborne export containers railed from TFR sidings, areas or facilities with no weighbridge facilities or where the TFR weighbridge is out of service, the customer will have to follow the process of providing the VGM to TFR in the form of documentation used as input to capture an order for rail. This information will electronically interface with the TPT Navis system.”

TFR has warned customers to ensure that their hauler’s and trailer’s tare weights are correctly registered with TFR in the TFR Navis and CMM systems to avoid unnecessary disputes that can be caused as a result of incorrect info.

“The VGM of containers railed from neighbouring countries can be declared at source and once captured in TFR systems the information will interface with TPT Navis. Alternatively the shipping line responsible must perform the TPT Navis pre-advice function and declare the VGM in Navis.

In all instances where TFR does not mass measure containers to obtain the weight, copies of printed weighbridge slips must accompany TFR documentation as proof of the VGM,” she added.

FTW further reports that shippers who falsify VGM could face jail time

Jail time warning to shippers for falsified VGM

That’s the warning from Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) senior manager of strategy, Willie Coetsee, who told FTW Online that punitive measures for deliberate and unethical ‘cheaters’ of the new VGM regulations would be imposed by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa).In five weeks’ time (July 1) the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) new Safety for Life at Sea (Solas) VGM regulation, requiring the mandatory weighing of all containers before they are loaded aboard ship, takes effect.

“For individuals not complying with the requirements for weighing equipment, the Legal Metrology Act of 2014 has provisions whereby offenders would be liable for a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both,” he said.

And shippers will look for ways to try to cheat the system – especially with today’s advanced technology, said Peter Besnard, CEO of the South African Association of Ship Operator and Agents (Saasoa). He suggested that they could try to falsify their VGM certification.

Coetsee offered another example: “Shippers could deliberately misdeclare the weight of a container by making use of weighing equipment that has not been approved for method one – one of two methods prescribed by the Solas regulation.”

And it’s not just potential criminal penalties as shippers who misdeclare their cargo will also face additional trucking costs and documentation fees. “If a container’s arrival and departure weights do not match, they will not be loaded onto the ship but instead sent for further inspection,” Besnard pointed out.

However, added Coetsee, the VGM regulation does allow for a little bit of wiggle room where the difference between the departure and arrival weight of a container and its contents is concerned.

“There can be small differences in weight due to environmental factors such as humidity on wood pallets and cartons,” said Coetsee.

“Some cargo products may incur normal, minor changes in mass from the time of packing and weighing until delivery due to evaporation or humidity changes, and some containers’ tare mass may change over time and vary somewhat from the tare mass marked on the container. However, these margins of error should not normally present safety concerns.”

Have you decided which of the two methods you will be using to caculate your VGM..??


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Are the punitive punishments going to differ from country to country or there would be same punishments across board?

  2. My comment is, what if,after declaring the VGM by the shipper to the shipping line and same has been proceed and send to their respective terminal by the shipping line, what happens when shipper has done amendments after vessel has sailed??

  3. good day, very interesting. i love this blog hariesh
    Is there a possibility to Discuss about vgm worldwide on a forum or anything else, just to know how persons/entity which are involved in shipping business (shipping company , freightforwarderd, customers, terminals, etc…), manage, communicate and see this new regulation
    This should be interesting to have compare betweent different countries, jobs etc..


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