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VGM container weight misdeclarations widespread at most ports​

VGM container weight misdeclarations widespread at most ports - Route Newsletter: November 2023
The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass (VGM) rule was implemented in 2016 to combat the problem of overweight containers, which cause vessel stability issues and subject the ship, seafarers and shore-side workers to peril. Under SOLAS, the exporter must declare the accurate gross mass of a packed container by two possible methods:

  1. Weighing the packed container
  2. Weighing all packages, pallets, dunnage and other material loaded into the container and adding the tare mass of the container to this total.

If the carrier does not receive a VGM certification for the container, they can refuse to load it. Carrier CGM has advised that during weighing of containers at transshipment points, they have frequently discovered that the weight indicated on the VGM and ocean bill of lading does not align with the actual container weights. When this happens, there can be serious repercussions for the exporter as, not only is this a safety hazard, but it could cause substantial delays, which could result in demurrage/detention and also potential Customs penalties.

Carriers are also finding that there are situations such as “last-minute” cargo moves, where manual declarations are accepted without effectively weighing cargo and submitting the VGM data through the appropriate platform. Carriers are pushing for swift stakeholder intervention to combat this industry-wide hazard.

For more information, contact Debbie McGuire, Director – Freight Solutions.

Quick Tip #5
Clarifying the limitations of Incoterms

Don’t make the mistake of assuming Incoterms define anything other than the terms of delivery. For example, Incoterms do not cover:

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