SOLAS Regulations are being updated – Are you aware?

Update to SOLAS Regulations 1st July 2016

As of 1st July 2016, changes to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 regulations will come into effect. One of the major changes effecting cargo carriage is the requirement for all packed sea freight containers carried by ships subject to SOLAS to have a proven gross weight in the form of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM).

The Verified Gross Mass must include the total weight of all packed cargo, the container tare and any additional material used to pack or secure the cargo within the container.

Verified Gross Mass = Container Tare + Cargo + Securing Material

VGM can be determined by either of the following two methods:

  1. Weighing – once the container has been completely packed and sealed it can be weighed by the shipper or a third party contracted by the shipper.
  2. Calculating – all packages, cargo, dunnage and any other packing material can be weighed individually and the sum added to the container tare, as stated on the outside of the container.

It is the Shipper’s responsibility to verify the gross mass of a container and to ensure that it is communicated to the carrier on time, or to authorize a third party to do so on their behalf. Weight values must meet the accuracy standards of the state in which the weighing has been carried out.

A new EDIFACT message, VERMAS, has been developed for the purpose of communicating the VGM and additional mandatory information to all parties involved in the transport chain. The mandatory information to be included with the VGM is as follows:

  • Booking Number
  • Container Number
  • Verified Weight
  • Unit of Measurement
  • Responsible Party (named on BOL)
  • Authorized Person (authorized by Shipper)

More details about SOLAS can be found here:,-1974.aspx