Solas Update


Shipping containers is a pretty safe business – and at KC Liner Agencies we are proud of our safety record, built up over years of experience. However, in recent years, the industry as a whole has seen some major incidents, both at sea and onshore, arising from laden containers with incorrectly declared weights. It poses a huge risk and one that needs tackling with an industry-driven approach.

That’s why from July 1 2016, a new regulation will require shippers to verify and provide the container’s Verified Gross Mass (VGM) BEFORE it is being loaded onto a ship. The regulation, effective as global law, prohibits the loading of a packed container in absence of the VGM. It applies to all packed containers which are to be loaded to a vessel under SOLAS regime in international maritime traffic.




How does this legislation help me?

All parties involved within the supply chain will benefit from the new ruling For Shippers: Declaring accurate information substantially reduces the risks of damages to valued cargo and consignments. For Carriers: Most importantly, accurate manifests provide a safe working environment for crew and vessel alike. Other benefits included improved efficiency resulting in reduced re-stows and the avoidance of last minute cancellations and restacks. Terminal operators will also benefit from enhanced safe working environment for all employees.


There are other benefits:

In principle the industry will face reduced delays and more importantly an overall safer working environment. The regulation will significantly increase safety and transport quality for everyone involved in the supply chain network - each playing a vital role in global distribution of your product.


What action do you need to take from July 1 2016?

The VGM details need to be provided to the carrier sufficiently in advance of vessel loading. The responsibility for obtaining and providing the VGM sits with the shipper.


How do I determine the VGM?

The SOLAS regulations prescribe two methods by which the shipper may obtain the verified gross mass of a packed container.

  • The shipper may weigh the packed and sealed container using calibrated and certified equipment.
  • The shipper may add the weight of each package stuffed in the container, add the packing and securing material and add the tare weight of the utilised container.

The method itself needs to be certified and approved by a national regulatory body.


Here’s an important point to remember: Providing an estimation of weight or general weight indication is NOT permitted. The weight provided by the shipper will be submitted to the respective carrier by KC Liner Agencies. After that, the carrier will take care for proper processing of data along the transport chain.


How do you submit a VGM?

KC Liners takes part in EDI standardisation initiatives to offer enhanced versions for electronic transmission. Also, we will offer various means of communication to provide the VGM information easily. It is highly recommended to use electronic interchange channels to submit the VGM.


What happens if my VGM is not submitted?

A laden container, for which the VGM has not been correctly obtained will receive no authorisation to be loaded on the vessel. Loading a laden container without VGM is an offence against an existing SOLAS regulation.


What else do I need to know?

VGM is needed prior to a packed container being allowed to be loaded onboard a vessel. A shipper, providing a Bill of Lading, where they are named, to the ocean carrier and/or the terminal representative can manage this process on your behalf. The new regulation means:

  • The responsible party for providing the VGM will be the shipper
  • The VGM will be determined by two permissible weighing methods
  • The terminal operator will be obliged to ensure that only containers with a VGM are loaded on the vessel
  • KC Liner Agencies will assess impact of VGM regulations issued by governments.


We ensure an easy submission of VGM as well as easy information exchange with terminals for our customers.

Information on the legislation can be found on:

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KC Liner Agencies
Albert House
308 Albert Drive
Glasgow G41 5RS.

T: +44 (0)141 420 1670
F: +44 (0)141 420 1560
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