Mandatory as of 1 July 2016: Verification of container gross mass

The new SOLAS regulation on the verification of the mass of containers loaded on sea-going vessels enters into force on 1 July 2016. This new regulation is intended to prevent the loss or endangerment of life at sea, reduce risks to the environment and reduce the number of serious accidents and incidents involving loss of cargo at sea. Investigations into serious accidents and incidents show that a large number of incorrectly declared container gross masses were involved in these cases.


The SOLAS requirements are not new. There is already a regulation in place today that means the shipper has to report masses to the ship owner. This has now been expanded such that the shipper must report the gross mass of containers as a verified gross mass (VGM) to the ship owner in a timely manner.

Shipping companies, for their part, will have an obligation to only load containers that have a VGM onto ships as of 1 July this year. Containers without a VGM will stay where they are in future.


In accordance with SOLAS, there are two methods of calculating the verified gross mass:

  • Method 1: The containers are weighed at a weighing station (class 4 scales)
  • Method 2: The individual weights of all goods, packages, packaging aids and dunnage and the tare weight of the container are all added together to calculate the verified gross mass

The verified gross mass can be sent to the ship owner by the shipper electronically. A new standardised interface called "VERMAS" has been developed by the SMDG (User Group for Shipping Lines and Container Terminals) for this purpose. This interface can be used to send the verified gross masses to the shipping companies via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).


As the operator of the Port Community System for the ports of Bremen and Wilhelmshaven, dbh Logistics IT AG (dbh) is already closely involved in communications between shippers, ship owners, terminals and authorities today.

dbh also offers simple solutions for the implementation of the SOLAS regulation on 1 July 2016 that aid the loading of containers onto sea-going vessels. As an experienced service provider in the field of port operations, dbh offers applications for data logging and interfaces for the straightforward transmission of verified gross mass (VGM) to ship owners. An information event on this subject will be held in March this year — dbh will provide further details in due course.

You can find more information
in the full article.


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