SOLAS Verified Gross Weight Requirement

Shipping and Logistics

SOLAS Verified Gross Weight Requirement

SOLAS

Beginning July 1, 2016, Crowley Liner Services will require the presentation of a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) by the shipper for all containers that either originate in the U.S. and are destined for an international location, or originate from an international location and are imported into the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to provide Verified Gross Mass (VGM)?
  • VGM is the certified gross cargo weight (including weight of all packing material) plus container tare weight. A container is defined as any size shipping container, tank containers, flat racks, bulk containers and shipper-owned containers.
What do shippers need to submit?

Shippers must submit the following information: first name, last name, date and company name of the person certifying the VGM. In addition, the shipper must also notate which method is being applied (1 or 2):

  1. Weigh the loaded container.
  2. Weigh all packages, packaging and dunnage material and add the tare weight of the container.
  • Maximum cargo weight restrictions will still apply and can be found here .
When is the Verified Gross Mass required?

VGM information is required for shipments sailing from an international port of origin or to an international final destination and must be received prior to the container being loaded aboard the vessel. Cargo will not be loaded onto a vessel unless a certified VGM is provided within the required documentation cutoff stipulated by the carrier. If a container scheduled to ship on a voyage from a Crowley terminal does not have a VGM provided by the shipper prior to documentation cutoff, and the cargo has been received prior to cargo operations, unless otherwise instructed to hold the shipment, the carrier will provide the VGM at a cost to the shipper of record and sail the load.

Who is responsible to provide the Verified Gross Mass?
  • The shipper noted on the Bill of Lading will be the party responsible for providing the carrier and the terminal operator the VGM, regardless of who physically performed the weighing service. The shipper will be held responsible for verification of the loaded container’s weight and any penalties applied for failure to comply.
  • For full container loads where a NVOCC (or freight forwarder) is utilized, the shipper noted on the bill of lading is responsible for providing the VGM to the carrier unless an agreement was reached between the NVOCC and shipper of record. If the NVOCC is listed as the shipper on the bill of lading, then the NVOCC is to provide the VGM to the carrier. For less-than-container loads (LCL), Crowley Logistics, Inc., Crowley Caribbean Logistics, and/or SeaPack will be the responsible party to submit the VGM to the main carrier.
  • For cross-dock cargo, Crowley will provide the tare weight of the final equipment loaded for the shipper to use in its VGM calculation. The shipper remains the responsible party to provide VGM to the carrier, unless other arrangements are made with the company providing cross-dock services.
  • For vehicles, Not in a Trailer (NIT) and breakbulk cargo, cargo weights will be due by the documentation cutoff. We recommend that you contact the terminal operator for the facility from which you will be shipping for specific instructions.
  • Crowley will offer to provide VGM at select Crowley terminals for a fee. For cargo departing on a Crowley vessel from Jacksonville, Port Everglades, or Miami, Florida, or Pennsauken, New Jersey, to an international location, the fee will be $50 per container. VGM can be provided for cargo departing Crowley’s terminal in Gulfport, Mississippi, however, it will be subject to additional third-party weighing fees. When departing an international location, the fee will vary by location depending on locally imposed fees, and we will provide further details as more information from these locations become available. We strongly encourage you to verify the terminal acceptance policies at the port of loading to ensure your cargo sails timely. 
  • Crowley retains the right to review declared VGM weights in comparison to terminal scaled weights. Where discrepancies are determined to be outside of an acceptable variance, the shipper will be notified of the discrepancy, the weight taken at the terminal shall be deemed the VGM and a charge will apply. 
  • The VGM will begin with the shipper who submits the information to Crowley. Then Crowley will send the information to our terminal operator
How should I submit VGM to Crowley?

Crowley will accept the VGM on the paper shipping instructions. The shipping instructions must reflect the first name, last name, date and company name of the person certifying the VGM. The Crowley Bill of Lading will reflect an additional clause and the name of the party who is certifying the VGM from the original instructions. The VGM will not be accepted verbally or over the phone. EDI 304 (shipping instructions) capabilities will be available by July 1 for EDI customers who would like to exchange this information. If you are a new customer or an existing EDI 304 customer who would like to use this EDI transaction, updated Crowley EDI guidelines for submitting the VGM can be provided by contacting our EDI team at EDIHelp@crowley.com . In addition, Crowley will be able to exchange the VERMAS VGM message at a later date. 

For customers submitting their shipping instructions via My Crowley, this option will be available in mid-July for VGM submission or to elect to have Crowley provide the VGM on behalf of the shipper. Until this time, customers should submit the bill instructions via My Crowley by the documentation cutoff, but they will also be required to submit a written document with the VGM by the documentation cutoff, which must include first name, last name, date and company name of the person certifying the VGM. In addition, the shipper must also notate which method is being applied (weighing method 1 or 2 above). If this information is not submitted then a charge shall apply or the cargo potentially could be delayed. This information can be submitted to our documentation department as follows by trade:

  1. Latin American documentation:  LatinAmericanDoc@crowley.com
  2. Caribbean Services documentation:  Islanddocs@crowley.com
  3. SeaFreight documentation: Crowleycardocs@crowley.com
  4. Puerto Rico documentation: PR.Services@crowley.com   (Cargo departing from San Juan, PR and loaded onto a container ship, destined to Central America and the Caribbean Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, Dominican Republic and any other RORO service destinations are excluded))
  5. Puerto Rico documentation: Caribbeandoc@crowley.com (Cargo departing from the U.S. to San Juan, PR and then loaded/transshipped onto a container ship, destined to Central America and the Caribbean Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, Dominican Republic and any other RORO service destinations are excluded))

Until this time, southbound customers may submit their VGM via written to Crowley’s documentation team as outlined in the FAQ by trade lane. For northbound instructions, please discuss with your local representatives by country  

Will Crowley Maritime allow containers to in-gate at terminals without the Verified Gross Mass?

Yes. Crowley Liner Services will work with its terminal operators to ensure that our customers’ cargo is not denied entry at the terminal gate.  Until stated otherwise, Crowley will allow a container to enter our terminals without Verified Gross Mass, however, cargo handled at third party terminals will be subject to local and national regulations at origin.  We strongly encourage you to verify the terminal acceptance policies at the port of loading to ensure your cargo sails timely. 

What cutoffs are you currently planning for the Verified Gross Mass?

Shippers must provide a Verified Gross Mass before cargo can be loaded onboard the vessel. For shipments departing the U.S. destined for an international location, Crowley Liner Services will require the VGM to be submitted within the documentation cutoffs stipulated for the service being used. The carrier will charge the shipper of record for weighing the container if the VGM is not received prior to the documentation cutoff.  For shipments departing international locations, please refer to your local agents to confirm VGM cutoff times and local submission requirements. If Crowley is the party communicating the VGM to another terminal operator on the shipper’s behalf (e.g. transshipment cargo), then the VGM must be received before the container can be loaded onto the vessel from the U.S. to an international destination or from an international destination to the U.S.

Will Crowley Liner Services require the shipper to provide the gross weight (container + cargo), or simply the cargo weight?

The SOLAS Verified Gross Mass regulation requires the shipper to provide the verified gross mass (cargo and container) to the terminal operator and the carrier prior to loading the container on board the vessel. Providing only cargo weight does not meet the SOLAS VGM requirement. Container tare weights are stenciled on the container on the back door and the shipper is not required to validate the tare weight. The tare weight provided on the container may be added to the actual weight of all contents loaded into the container. This is accepted as one of the prescribed methods to verify the gross mass of the container to the terminal operator and the carrier. 

What cargo is exempt from providing Verified Gross Mass?

The provisions of SOLAS Chapter VI, Part A, Regulation 2, do not apply to:

  • A loaded container on a chassis or trailer to be driven on a Roll-on/Roll-off (“ro-ro”) ship that is engaged on short international voyages. 
  • Cargo items tendered by a shipper to the master for loading into a container already on board the ship.
  • "Offshore containers" as defined by the International Convention of Safe Containers, or CSC, in the following briefings: MSC/Circ.860; CSC.1/Circ.138/Rev.1.
  • Transshipments which depart prior to July 1, 2016.
  • Cargo to and from the U.S. to Puerto Rico trade (domestic shipments). Based on the USCG’s interpretation of the amended SOLAS Chapter VI Part 2 requirements,domestic shippers have no additional requirements to be considered compliant. Crowley Puerto Rico Services, Inc. intends to weigh all containers received at a domestic Crowley facility. The weight determined at the time of in gate will be considered the VGM and this weight will be provided to the terminal operator and the vessel.