SOLAS Verified Gross Mass Reporting

The new Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Verified Gross Mass Reporting requirement goes into effect July 1, 2016.

This regulation requires that the actual shippers must provide verification of the gross mass weight to the steamship lines before cargo is allowed to load. In an effort to lessen the burden on shippers, some ports have implemented a procedure whereby they will weigh export containers. This procedure has been declared equivalent to the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) required by SOLAS by the United States Coast Guard.

Georgia Ports Authority, Port of Charleston, and Ports America Chesapeake have announced that effective July 1, 2016, shippers are authorized to use gate weights to satisfy their VGM requirements when shipping containerized cargo through their terminals. This will eliminate the need for exporters to file VGM.

VGM applies to full container loads (FCL) and less than container load (LCL) shipments. We have received varied information from several Non Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and steamship lines that will be applying VGM fees. The fees will range from $15.00 to $25.00 for the first container and additional smaller fees for each additional container per bill of lading. This applies to both shipments being exported from the U.S. and shipments being imported into the U.S.

We predict that this process will be constantly changing with the various carriers so costs may be difficult to pin down. We will monitor and evaluate the processes over the next month to obtain a better understanding of the additional time and associate costs required.

For your convenience, a SOLAS VGM Submission form, created by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) is now posted on our web page.