ATTENTION ALL EXPORTERS! Solas Convention Changes Coming July 1!


Hear ye, hear ye! Changes to the SOLAS Convention taking effect July 1st !

Beginning July 1, 2016, all containers will be weighed before being loaded onto a ship. If you are an FCL (Full Container Load) exporter, this change will affect you! If you have not already done so, now is the time to begin working closely with staff to ensure they are prepared to provide VGM (Verified Gross Mass), on every container, before returning to port.

There are two different ways that VGM can be determined:

1. Weigh the entire container after it is packed. If you are a bulk shipper, this might be the best option.

2. Weigh all cargo and packing material, and add that sum to the container’s tare weight, listed on the end of the container itself. If you primarily ship one single product, this option should work well for you.

When providing the VGM you’ll also need to include a signed/verified document which includes:

1. Booking Number or BL Number or FLEX-ID

2. Container Number

3. VGM Weight

4. VGM Authorizer Name (typed in English)

5. Unit of Measurement

6. Method used to weigh the container (1 or 2)

You can read more about the specific weight tolerance variations in each region, along with more specific information for that region, by using the interactive map at the following link: container-weight- verification-rule- effective-july- 1-2016


It is expected that this change will bring a host of delays, as most carriers are taking a no-tolerance stance to this new change, and beginning July 1, 2016 they will disallow containers which do not have a proper VGM on file. This, as you can imagine, is likely to disrupt some things. One of the biggest hurdles to this change is that logistically the ports do not have the resources to verify the weight on behalf of the shipper, nor are there clear-cut procedures for separating non-compliant cargo from the compliant. So again: do what you can to have all “t”s crossed and “I”s dotted. Though you may be bogged down by non-compliant shipments, at least you won’t be bogged down AND behind the 8 ball with a container you can’t receive! The shipper named on the Bill of Lading is the one responsible for providing the VGM, so if that’s you, and we can help you in any way, please let us know!

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