June 15, 2016

To Our Valued Customers,

Subject: The SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirement.

This is a reminder that the SOLAS CONTAINER WEIGHT VERIFICATON REQUIREMENT will become legal effective on July 1, 2016. We urge you to begin planning accordingly now.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) to require that all ocean containers have a verified weight before loading. This requirement will apply globally. Shippers, freight forwarders, vessel operators, and terminal operators will all need to establish policies and procedures to ensure the implementation of this mandatory change.

Basic Principles under the SOLAS Requirement:

  1. Before a container can be loaded onto a ship, it must have a verified weight. It will be a violation of SOLAS to load a packed container aboard a vessel without proper weight verification. There will be no exceptions to this requirement.

2. There are two permissible methods for calculating the VGM.

a) To weigh the container after it has been packed.

b) To weigh all the cargo and contents (the mass of pallets, dunnage, any other securing material) of the container and add those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated towards the door end of the container Estimated weights are not permitted.

3. The weighing equipment used to weigh the contents of the container must meet the applicable accuracy standards and requirements of the State in which the equipment is being used.

4. Estimating the weight of a container’s contents is not permitted. In the absence of a shipper providing a verified gross mass of a packed container, that container “shall not be loaded on to the ship”.

5. It is important to note that for the shipper’s weight verification to be compliant with the SOLAS requirement, it must be “signed”, meaning a specific person representing the shipper is named and identified as having verified the accuracy of the weight calculation on behalf of the shipper.

6. Containers exceeding the maximum payload indicated on the Safety Approval Plate and which are subject to the International Convention for Safe Containers will not be loaded onto the vessel.

7. SOLAS requires that the container weight verification information with signature be submitted at the time that the container is picked up.

Our Export personnel will be in contact with you shortly to review and answer any additional questions you may have.


Barbara Pupa

VP, International Logistics Operations