The following changes to the International Convention for the Safety of Human Life at Sea (SOLAS), which are intended to improve maritime safety and reduce risks during sea freight transport, will come into force from the International Maritime Organization on 01 July 2016.

As a consequence, from 01 July 2016 a so-called weight verification (VGM - Verified Gross Mass) must be declared by the consignor for all loaded export containers. This VGM can be determined by one of the following two methods. The freight forwarder is to be informed by means of this declaration. The declaration must compulsorily designate the VGM of each container.

Method 1 - Weighing: The fully loaded, sealed container is to be weighed at an extant calibrated weighing station.

Method 2 - Calculation: All dispatch articles and loading items can be weighed individually (including pallets, stowage material and securing and packaging mediums that are to be included within the container) and then supplemented with the tare weight of the container. Estimates are not permitted.

FEAG International Freight Forwarders Ltd. will rely completely on the VGM information provided and will not determine or verify this itself. It is recommended that the calculation bases are retained for any inspections or checks.

The consigner is responsible for ensuring that the verified gross mass is received in advance of the load planning for the ship. FEAG recommends that the VGM declaration is submitted at the latest on the day of container loading - preferably together with the container number (and, if already available, also with the seal number).

Without the VGM data a container may not be loaded on board a ship. Shippers and terminal operators must abide by this obligation, which may result in additional costs, delays and cancellations.

Our ocean freight teams will be pleased to support you in implementing this new rule. Please contact your local FEAG representative. 

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