Verified Gross Mass (VGM) FAQs

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What does it mean to provide a Verified Gross Mass (VGM)?

The VGM is the certified Gross Cargo Mass (including the weight of all packing material) plus container tare mass.


When is VGM required?

VGM is required prior to loading a packed container to a vessel. Cargo will not be loaded onto a vessel unless a certified VGM is provided.


Who is responsible for providing the VGM?

Per the International Maritime Organization (IMO) the Shipper, as defined by the documentation, regardless of who physically performed the work, will be held responsible for the verification of the packed container’s weight and any penalties applied for failure to comply.


How does a shipper provide Seaboard Marine a VGM?

The rules define two methods to obtain a VGM. Seaboard Marine prefers Method 2. Under  Method 2 the shipper or, by arrangement of the Shipper, a third party weighs all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other packing and securing material to be packed in the container, and adds the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses of the container’s contents.

Please be advised, certain types of cargo items (e.g. scrap metal, unbagged grain and other cargo in bulk) do not easily lend themselves to the individual weighing of the items to be packed in the container. In such cases, usage of Method 2 would be inappropriate and impractical; therefore, Method 1 should be used instead.

Under Method 1, upon conclusion of packing and sealing a container, the Shipper may weigh, or have arranged for a third party to weigh the packed container.


How will Seaboard Marine facilitate the use of Method 2 to provide the VGM?

Seaboard Marine will publish the tare mass of our equipment. The tare mass will also be made available through web-based tools (on our website and within our customer portal), electronically within a booking confirmation and via electronic data interchange (EDI) (ANSI EDI322).


How do I locate the tare mass of a container?

In addition to the back door of the container, Seaboard Marine will publish the tare mass of our equipment on our website and various marketing material. A more specific tare mass will also be made available through web-based tools (on our website and within our customer portal), electronically within a booking confirmation and via electronic data interchange (EDI).


At what point is the VGM required?

The SOLAS VGM regulation specifically prohibits a packed container from being loaded on-board a vessel if it does not have a VGM.  Seaboard Marine will therefore adopt a “No VGM, No Load” policy throughout the Seaboard Marine network of services.  In addition, certain terminal operators have stipulated that they may not accept a container into the terminal unless the VGM has been provided.  It is therefore extremely important for the Shipper to provide the VGM at the earliest possible stage of the documentation process in order to ensure acceptance at the terminal and available to load to the intended vessel.


Will Seaboard Marine allow containers in-gate at terminals without the Verified Gross Mass?

Seaboard Marine is working with terminal operators in all ports in our service network to avoid denying entry at the terminal gate. In ports where Seaboard Marine provides terminal operations with weighing capabilities (i.e. PortMiami and Houston) we will allow containers to be accepted without a VGM.  In order for the container to be loaded to the intended vessel the Shipper must provide the VGM prior to the commencement of loading operations.  If the VGM is not received by the commencement of loading operations Seaboard Marine will utilize the terminal weight in accordance with the IMO Guidelines Regarding the Verified Gross Mass of a Container Carrying Cargo and there will be a charge for providing the weighing service.  Seaboard Marine will also publish a list of terminals that may provide similar services on behalf of the shipper and their associated expenses.


What cutoffs are you currently planning for the Verified Gross Mass?

SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) is required “before loading cargo on board the vessel”.  To avoid any uncertainty, Seaboard Marine encourages the Shipper to provide the container VGM before the scheduled delivery to the port terminal.  This will allow Seaboard Marine time to communicate the VGM to the terminal operator and ensure a container can be accepted in instances where the terminal operator requires the VGM prior to container delivery to the terminal.


How will Seaboard Marine be able to receive Verified Gross Mass via both EDI and paper?

Seaboard Marine will accept VGM documentation via our website, our customer portal (eServicenter), via EDI ANSI 300 (Booking), via EDI ANSI 301 (Booking Confirmation), and via EDI ANSI 304. There are also developments through third party portals such as GT Nexus and others to be determined to accept and transmit VGM.



Will Seaboard Marine require the shipper provide the gross weight (container + cargo), or simply the cargo weight?

The SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) regulation requires the shipper to provide the verified gross mass (cargo and container) to the terminal operator and the carrier prior to loading the container onboard the vessel.  Providing only cargo weight does not meet the SOLAS VGM requirement.  Container weights are provided on the back door of the container, and the shipper is not required to validate that tare weight.  The tare weight provided on the container may be used as one of the prescribed methods to verify the gross mass of the container to the terminal operator and the carrier.


If I have additional questions, who should I contact at Seaboard Marine?

Not all questions are easy to address particularly since many Countries and terminals are still compiling their guidelines regarding SOLAS VGM.  Any questions related to VGM submissions deadlines and other related matters should be directed through your individual Seaboard Marine representative.

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