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SOLAS Requirements – Get ready for container weight verification


Effective July 1, shippers worldwide must provide documentation that indicates the verified gross mass (VGM) of a loaded ocean container (total weight of the container and contents).  This is a new requirement of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).  Two methods can be used to determine VGM: 

Method 1:  After packing/sealing a container and using calibrated/certified equipment, the shipper may weigh, or arrange to have a third party weigh the packed container.

Method 2:  The shipper may weigh the contents (including cargo, dunnage & bracing material) and then add this weight to the tare weight of the container.  The tare weight of each container is clearly marked on the container CSC plate located on the door panel.

If a packed container is found to have an incorrectly declared VGM, Transport Canada will detain the container on site and liaise with the shipper for appropriate, corrective action.  This may result in missed sailings and/or extra handling fees.  If there is a safety issue, monetary penalties, ranging from $600 – $12,000, could also apply.

For compliance and enforcement purposes, a 5% variation in VGM of a loaded container will be accepted, up to a maximum of 500 kg, without penalty.

Similar measures will come into effect at ports throughout the world in countries that choose to adopt these new provisions.

Transport Canada has announced the release of its Ship Safety Bulletin RDIMS No.: 11733860.

To help shippers comply with these new requirements, Transport Canada, Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS), in consultation with Measurement Canada, various stakeholder’s groups and associations, has developed and published the final version of the Canadian Procedure for Obtaining the Verified Gross Mass of Packed Containers as Required by Solas VI/2 (TP 15330E).

For more information, contact David Lychek, Manager – Ocean & Air Services.

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