Whats the Weight?

October 7, 2019


VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass and is now required for all shipments shipping overseas since July 2016. The International Maritime Organization amended the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) convention under regulation 2 of chapter VI which mandates the declaration of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a packed container before loading on board vessels within a prescribed cut-off date / time to the shipping line and / or port terminal authorities. Effective 1st July 2016, the regulation stipulates the use of two approved methods to declare the VGM for each container by the shipper or his representative.

SOLAS regulation for weighing containers allows two ways for weighing packed containers in order to obtain the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for each container by the shipper or his representative.

As per the regulation, either of the two approved methods must be used to declare the verified gross mass:

1 Real weight of the container including tare when cargo is packed

2 Addition of the whole cargo including packing and the tare weight of the container


Soon penalties will be accessed for incorrect declarations of the VGM. 

What you need to know…

For LCL shipments – the consolidator weighs all cargo that comes into the loading warehouse and will prepare the VGM (as it is required for the container) they build this fee into their rate.

For FCL shipments – not everyone loading a container has time to weigh out every item much less has a certified scale on site. If they do, they provide the individual weights of the pallets, crates or items and whoever loads the container must sign the VGM thus taking the responsibility for the weight reported. The solution is to have the trucking company get a scale ticket for the empty container and another once it is loaded.  Your agent will prepare the VGM then submit the shipping line with the scale tickets.

There is an additional fee for scale tickets usually about $100 each, however it can be more or less based on region and trucking company.  Until next time 😊


If you have any questions or comments on this or any other international shipping topic, contact me!

Sue Fitzgerald – GM – Dove Shipping Intl Inc

281-328-4100 tel


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