VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass, and it is a requirement under the International Maritime Organization's Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. VGM refers to the total weight of a packed container, including its contents and any additional materials such as pallets, dunnage, and securing materials. This information is crucial for ensuring the safety of maritime transportation and preventing accidents.
The SOLAS Convention mandates that shippers are responsible for providing the verified gross mass of containers to the shipping line and port terminal operators prior to loading them onto a vessel. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the weight of the containers is accurately declared, as misdeclaration can lead to various safety hazards, such as instability of the vessel, collapsed stacks, and accidents during handling and transportation.
Method 1: Weighing the entire packed container
Shippers can use calibrated weighing equipment, such as weighbridges, industrial scales, or certified weighing systems, to directly measure the weight of the entire loaded container. This method requires the container to be weighed after it has been fully packed and sealed.
Method 2: Weighing the contents and adding the container's tare weight
Alternatively, shippers can individually weigh all the contents of the container, including cargo, packaging, and any other materials. They must then add the tare weight of the container (as indicated on its door or specification plate) to calculate the verified gross mass.
It is important for shippers to communicate the VGM information accurately and in a timely manner to the relevant parties involved, such as the shipping line, port terminal operators, and customs authorities. Failure to comply with the VGM requirement may result in the container being denied loading onto a vessel or delays in transportation.
The implementation of the VGM requirement has improved safety in maritime operations by ensuring that the weight of containers is properly determined and documented. It has also enhanced efficiency and reduced the risk of accidents or incidents caused by overweight or improperly loaded containers.
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