Shipping in Switzerland

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Verified Gross Mass

What is Verified Gross Mass (VGM)?

Effective from 1st July 2016, with the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) amendment covering container weighing regulations, a packed container will no longer be allowed to be loaded on board vessels unless its VGM has been provided by the shipper to the ocean carriers and/or port terminal representatives prior to the load list cut-off date. For the UK the deadline is 24hrs prior to vessel arrival.

The new regulation was adopted by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) to increase maritime safety and reduce the dangers to cargo, containers, and all those involved in container transport throughout the supply chain.

The Verified Gross Mass (VGM) is the contents of the container added to the tare weight of the container carrying the cargo, to give a total weight. SOLAS requires the shipper to provide VGM in a “shipping document,” either as part of the shipping instruction or in a separate communication, before vessel loading.

The shipper is obliged to verify the gross mass of the containers carrying their cargo by either of two permissible weighing methods before these containers can be loaded on a vessel.

Method 1 Requires weighing the container after it has been packed.

Method 2 Requires weighing the contents of the container and adding that weight to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container.

Method 2 will not be practical for shippers of bulk commodities like scrap, grain, etc., and it will be up to local authorities to grant permission to use this method.


How can Verified Gross Mass information be submitted?

Shippers or their agents can submit VGM information online using when submitting shipping instructions or using the VGM functionality under the Documentation Tab. VGM information can also be submitted on shipping instructions, preferably via an E Channel. This is free of charge.

If no VGM information is received by the VGM deadline we are not allowed to ship your container.

If you have any questions regarding VGM please do not hesitate to contact our Export team.

Email your local office

If you want to speak to a sales person about a new shipment or have a question about your existing shipment, you can email us. If you have a more immediate question, you can search for help online or contact us by phone.