Verified Gross Mass Regulations Now Mandatory!

On July 1, a new international guideline regarding Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of packed containers came into effect to increase maritime safety and reduce the risks of cargo transport. This mandatory rule was issued by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the maritime arm of the United Nations, at the recent Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention.


What is VGM?

VGM is the sum of the cargo, packing material, and container tare weight. The shipper is obligated to provide an accurate VGM on the Bill of Lading to the carrier prior to vessel loading. Since the implementation of the new rule, you will not be able to load the container without the VGM and all related documents for each shipment must be kept for at least one year from the vessel sailing date.


How does it work?

The Maritime Safety Administration will be conducting random inspections on container VGMs, allowing a tolerance of either +/-5% or 1 ton (whichever is smaller). There are several methods by which the shipper can ensure that the shipment is compliant with the new VGM requirements, which Fiducia can help you arrange. Most importantly, the weighing equipment or weighbridge used must be certified according to local government standards, and the VGM must be provided before the designated cut-off date.


Generally, the VGM information must include:

  • Shipment reference (vessel name, container and seal number)
  • Responsible party
  • Name of authorized person
  • VGM weight and unit of measurement
  • Verification method
  • Weighting party
  • Weighting date
  • Certification ID


How Will This Affect Your Business?

We anticipate that there will be a number of extra costs associated with the measurement process, such as the use of certified weighing stations and/or purchase of own weighing equipment and VGM submission fee. In addition, shippers must also take into consideration the extra time needed to process the documentation. Lastly, any improper procedures or data could delay shipments, which could impact your business overall.


How Fiducia Can Help

Fiducia’s Trade & Technology Service is your one-stop supply chain answer. Clients have full transparency of their China / Hong Kong business, as all transactions are processed via our sophisticated IT platforms. Acting in the name of our client’s company, we serve as the information source and on-location project manager, ensuring smooth operations.

Please email us if you wish to discuss how this will impact your business in Greater China at