You may be aware that a new International agreement know as SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) concerning the accurate reporting of container weights is being adopted globally.

This new regime will come into effect at the 1st July 2016 and mandatory for all containers being delivered to Australian Terminals. This regime will affect all parties involved in the packing, transport and shipping of containers. In preparation for this deadline 1-Stop will enforce the mandatory inclusion of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) in the PRA (Pre Receival Advice) from Wednesday 22 June 2016.

This will ensure that all containers arriving at the terminal for loading from 1 July 2016 have a declared VGM.


What is Verified Gross Mass (VGM)?

Verified Gross Mass means the proven total weight of each packed container. This Verified Gross Weight must not only consider the masses of all packages and cargo items, but the container tare and all additional loading equipment (e.g. lashing material) too. VGM is not the weight declared on the Booking nor with the weight declared on the Bill of Lading.

There are 2 methods that the VGM can be determined, as follows:

Method 1 – Weigh the loaded container on “calibrated and certified equipment” (Such as a weighbridge) or

Method 2 – Weigh all contents on “calibrated and certified equipment” of the container and add it to the tare weight.

Estimations are not permitted with SOLAS regulations requiring use of “calibrated and certified equipment” for this purpose.


How will this information be provided to the Terminal and the shipping lines.

The most common way to notify the terminal will be via the PRA or 1-stop system.  SEAWAY will be able to assist in this regard.


What happens if I am unable to provide a VGM? 

Unless you provide SEAWAY or 1-Stop with a VGM, the PRA cannot be completed.  Without a valid PRA, your container will be rejected and access to the terminal will be denied.

No container will be shipped without a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) validated prior to arrival at the terminal as part of the Pre-Recieval Advice (PRA) process.


What will happen in the event that the VGM does not accurately reflect the weight of the container being delivered to the terminal in Australia. 

Your container could be rejected or not loaded, we believe that there will be a minor tolerance allowed however this will be at the discretion of the terminal, accurate weights will avoid this uncertainty.

The terminals have advised that all costs associated with a container being rejected or not loaded will be for the shipper or cargo owners account.  These charges could include “received but not shipped”, storage, additional transport costs, yard moves, missed timeslots, and associated administration costs.

In the event of a serious Non-Compliance AMSA under Marine Order 42 can impose penalties up to AUD$9,000.00 per shipment.


Who is responsible for the VGM?

The regulation clearly stipulates that the shipper is responsible, being further defined as the shipper noted on the Bill of Lading (BOL). SEAWAY as your Freight Forwarder / Logistics supplier can undertake this activity on your behalf as long as there is a clear understanding and agreement that the responsibility for supplying the correct information rests with the shipper/packer.

SEAWAY has prepared the attached declaration for each shipper, packer or supplier to assist with this process and ensure the correct information is provided for each container. Practically, if you are shipping multiple containers or large volume bookings we would not expect this document to be completed for each individual container.

If you have any questions about any of the above please contact your SEAWAY Customer Service or Sales Executive and we will assist further.