Verified gross weights for containers become mandatory!

17. Feb 2016 | Port management, Solas VGM

From 01.07.16 Mandatory: Verification of container gross weights

The new SOLAS rule for checking the weights of containers loaded on board seagoing vessels will enter into force on 1 July 2016. This new regulation aims to avoid the loss or threat to life at sea, to reduce risks to the environment and to serious accidents and loss of cargo at sea. Investigations in connection with serious accidents or incidents have shown that a high number of incorrectly declared gross masses of containers were involved.


The SOLAS requirements are not new. The rule already applies that the consignor must report the weights to the shipowner. This has now been extended in such a way that the gross mass as verified gross mass (VGM) of the containers must be reported by the shipper to the shipowner in good time.

For their part, from 1 July this year, the shipping companies will have the obligation to load only containers with a VGM on to seagoing vessels. Containers without VGM will remain standing in the future.


The determination of verified total weights can be carried out in accordance with SOLAS by two methods:

  • Method 1: The containers are weighed on a weighing station (scales class 4)
  • Method 2: All individual weights of goods, packages, packing aids and logs are totaled and calculated together with the container tare as a verified total weight

The transmission of the verified total weights from the shipper to the shipowner may be carried out electronically. For this purpose, a new standardized interface called “VERMAS” was developed by the SMDG (User Group for Shipping Lines and Container Terminals) with which the weights can be sent to the shipowner via EDI.


As the operator of the port community system for the Bremen ports and Wilhelmshaven, dbh Logistics IT AG (dbh) is already closely involved in communication between shippers, shipowners, terminals and authorities.

dbh will also offer simple solutions for the implementation of the SOLAS Directive as of 1 July 2016 to support the loading of containers on seagoing vessels. As an experienced service provider in the field of port management, dbh will offer applications for the recording and interfaces for the uncomplicated transmission of the verified total weight (VGM) to the shipowners. There will be an information event on this subject in March this year. The company will announce further details in good time.