SOLAS – Important notice for shippers and exporters


Are you aware of SOLAS Container Weight Verification Rules affecting shippers worldwide?


Adopted by the IMO – the International Maritime Organisation, SOLAS is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.

The accurate weight of loaded containers is not always given by shippers which has led to accidents in the past and continues to threaten safety.

An amendment to SOLAS was passed by the IMO in November 2014 and the new regulation is effective July 1, 2016.

Definition of a Shipper: A legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. “through” bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company.

What’s changing?

Globally applicable, a packed container will not be allowed to be loaded on board vessels unless the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) is provided in advance to the ocean carrier and/or the terminal representative by the shipper (named on the Bill of Lading) either by:
Method 1: weighing the packed, sealed container

Method 2: weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, packaging, dunnage and other securing material to be loaded in the container, then adding the tare weight of the container

For both methods, equipment must be calibrated and procedures must be certified by the competent authority of the state in which packing of the container was completed. In the UK this is the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Where the VGM has not been provided, the container will not be loaded onto the ship.
The Verified Gross Mass must be communicated to the carrier in a shipping instruction, weight certificate, EDI message or other approved methods such as carrier’s website.


Carriers and terminal operators continue to assess the impact of global VGM regulations issued by Governments with an aim to ensure data can be transmitted efficiently.
Industry suppliers at 3 major UK ports have already indicated they are investing in container weighing services to ensure that British businesses can continue trading.
If you have any questions, please contact your Pinnacle representative for further information or use the following links:

SOLAS – Important notice for shippers and exporters

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