A Guide to Verified Gross Mass (VGM) For Shipping

The vgm full form is Verified gross mass (VGM) is a relatively new concept introduced to the maritime industry. Container weight verification is now a worldwide requirement. New amendments were entered into force by IMO and also incorporated into SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) VI/2, adopted by resolution MSC.380(94), with effect from 1 July 2016, covering container weight regulations I. According to this new amendment. Containers cannot be loaded onto a ship unless the confirmed gross weight. Is reported by the shipper to the onboard personnel and also the port representative. This was a great effort, IMO. The introduction of this regulation has contributed to improving the safety of ships at sea. And has benefited both onboard and shore-based personnel involved in container handling.

What is VGM?

Verified gross mass (VGM) is the combined weight of the container’s tare weight and also the weight of the entire shipment, including all packaging and packaging. There are two ways to determine VGM. One is by weighing the packed container or by calculation. These two methods are explained later in this article. Now, the question arises as to why this regulation was introduced.

What Did We Need?

Until 2016, containers were loaded onto ships without weight information. Container weight questions can be determined using the container markings, including tare weight and also maximum operating gross weight (MGW). Incorrect weight information has caused many accidents in the past. Inaccurate weight declarations can affect the safe transport of containers at sea and put the lives of seafarers at risk. Therefore, accurate weight declaration is necessary to prevent harm to life and property. 

The shipper named on the waybill is responsible for the timely delivery of her vgm full form of the packed container to the seafarers and also port terminals. vgm full form is not listed on the invoice. This will be declared separately from the total cargo weight entered on the waybill. It is a SOLAS violation to load a packed container onto a vessel that has not been declared VGM. Failure to declare her VGM for containers being loaded onto a ship. May result in vessel delays or cargo cancellations, resulting in potential losses for both shippers and carriers.

Flow Chart Showing How To Determine VGM 

Acceptable weighing methods for determining VGM. There are two methods to determine VGM, as described below: 

Method 1: 

This method involves weighing packed/sealed containers and their loaded contents in the following manner: 

Calibrated and certified weighbridge equipment. Certified weigh stations can be installed at port terminals or also outside ports. If a container is weighed together with the road vehicle carrying it (chassis, truck). Then the weight of the truck and its fuel must be excluded from the total weight.

Method 2: 

This method involves weighing all cargo items and also container contents, including packaging materials, individually secured equipment, pallets, or dunnage, and indicating these weights on the container’s CSC plate. Must be added to the tare weight of the container. Therefore, the four factors you need to determine to obtain VGM according to method 2 are: 

  1. The tare weight of the container 
  2. Weight of product without packaging.
  3. The mass of the primary packaging material, if any, and 
  4.  The mass of all other packaging materials, pallets, dunnage, space fillers, and securing materials 

Weighing Equipment

Please note that weighing equipment (balance bridges, scales, or lifting equipment) used. In either method must comply with local state regulations and standards for accuracy certification and calibration requirements. Weight estimation is not allowed in either case. Upon request, proof of the metrology system used for certification must be provided. Including the following information: 

  1. Balance approval number 
  2. Name of weighing company 
  3. Weighing date 
  4. Weighing company address 
  5. Container number 
  6. Seal number 
  7. Name and signature of the person operating the scale 
  8. Company Stamp 

Details Provided On All VGM Instructions 

  1. Booking or Loading Bill Number 
  2. Container Number 
  3. VGM + Unit 
  4. Full Name of Responsible Person 
  5. Legible Signature 
  6. Place and Date of Signature 

Total Shipments received by mass shippers may not be 100% selective. Please note that the empty weight of some containers may change over time due to wear and may differ slightly from the empty weight shown on his CSC plate on the container door. Some countries specify a VGM tolerance of 2% to 5%. Some cargo products may experience normal slight mass changes between packaging wei,ghing, and delivery due to evaporation and moisture changes.

Vgm Declaration Form 

The shipper declares that the overall determination of the weight of the designated cargo container contained in the document is true and accurate and in accordance with Article VI 2.4.2 of the SOLAS Regulation. His general VGM declaration form contains the following information: 

1. VGM declares 

2. VGM Weighing Method 

3. VGM Reference Number 

4. VGM Signatory 

VGM Report showing the weighing method used and total weight 

Role Of The Master 

  1. The Master shall ensure the safe carriage of the packaged cargo. Plays an important role in Vehicles loaded onto vessels that are VGM compliant to avoid stability issues that could lead to vessel capsizing or sinking. The important duties of the Master in relation to the total mass of confirmed cargo are: 
  2. It is the Master’s responsibility to ensure that only packaged cargo with VGM documentation is loaded onto the ship.
  3. Masters and shipping company managers should ensure that her VGM of packed cargo is indicated on the shipping documents in a timely manner so that it can be used in preparing the ship’s stow plan.
  4. However, the shipper is responsible for determining and documenting the total certified mass of the packaged shipment.

As a general rule, shipping lines set deadlines for shippers to prepare VGMs for packaged goods so that the ship has enough time to safely plan the stowage of the cargo.

The Following Forms of Packaged Cargo/Containers May be Exempted from VGM: 

  1. Transported on a Ro-Ro vessel on a short international voyage if the container is transported on or from a vessel on a chassis or trailer only. Containers (Appendix, page 3, 3.2) ) 
  2. Maritime containers are not covered by the International Convention on Safe Containers (CSC). VGM indicates the total weight of the container, also including its contents. The importance of VGM in transportation cannot be ignored or avoided. All IMO member states must implement and also follow VGM rules and requirements.
  3. Weights declared as vgm full formis Solas compliant, which eliminates hidden or additional weights.
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