New Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Regulation



The International Maritime Organization (IMO) amended the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regarding weight verification requirements, effective 1 July 2016. As the SOLAS Convention is mandatory global law, these amendments will apply to most containerized maritime shipping.

The new regulation was adopted by the International Maritime Organization in order to increase maritime safety and reduce the dangers to cargo, containers, and everybody involved in container transport throughout the supply chain. 

The regulations require the shippers of all containers to provide a weight certificate showing the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of the container and its contents to the carrier sufficiently in advance of vessel loading so it can be used in the preparation of the vessel’s stowage plan. No containerized cargo will be loaded on a vessel unless the shipper has provided a signed weight verification to the carrier.

The SOLAS regulations offer two separate methods to obtain the verified gross weight of the container:



Method 1

Weighing the entire loaded container using calibrated and certified equipment



Method 2

Weighing all of the packages that are stowed in the container, including all pallets, dunnage and other packing material, and then adding the tare weight of the container


What is the Verified Gross Mass?

The Verified Gross Mass (VGM) is the weight of the cargo including dunnage and bracing together with the tare weight of the container carrying this cargo. SOLAS requires the shipper to provide the verified gross mass in a ‘shipping document’, which can be part of the shipping instructions or be a separate communication, before vessel loading.

CEVA is very closely monitoring the situation as this step directly impacts all our Ocean Freight customers as well as any other shippers worldwide. We will provide you with regular updates on the situation and how the new regulation is being implemented.