Lynden International


International Advisory

SOLAS Container Weight Verification Rules Become Effective July 1, 2016

Dear Valuable Customer:

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted new regulations under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) that require shippers to provide a verified weight for every loaded container being tendered for loading onboard a vessel. There are 162 countries which are party to this convention making these new regulations a global action. These new requirements become effective worldwide on July 1, 2016.

The new requirements are:

  • A Verified Gross Mass (VGM) or verified weight will be required as a condition for loading a packed container onboard a ship. Containers that do not have a VGM from the Shipper will not be loaded.
  • The Shipper named on the ocean carrier's bill of lading is responsible for providing the VGM of the loaded container.

Permissible Weighing Methods

As of this writing, there are two approved methods for determining the Verified Gross Mass of a loaded container (more options are still being discussed and could become approved later):

Method 1:

  • The Shipper may weigh or have a third party weigh the loaded and sealed container prior to delivery to the terminal.

Method 2:

  • The Shipper may weigh or have a third party weigh all cargo items, as well as pallets, dunnage and other packing material, to be packed in the container and then add the tare weight of the container (as marked on the container door or as provided from the carrier's website) to calculate the gross container weight.
  • Estimating the weight of the container's contents is not permitted.

Under either Method 1 or Method 2, the weighing equipment used must meet the accuracy standards of the country where the equipment is used. Also under either method, the declaration of the Verified Gross Mass must be signed and dated by the Shipper or by its duly authorized representative.

Additional information:

Lynden International will be providing more detailed data transfer and documentation information as processes to implement the weight verification requirements are finalized. More information about the SOLAS requirement for verified container weights as a condition for vessel loading can be found at


Lynden International
Phil Maxson
Director International Operations