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The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a new regulation under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) where as of June 22nd 2016, all loaded containers are required to have a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) declared prior to loading on board any vessel. The reason for these changes being implemented is due to overweight/ incorrect container weights causing major damage and incidents.


The shipper will be responsible for providing the VGM (using one of the two methods) as they control the loading of the container.


Based on information received from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Marine Order 42 will describe the equipment and approved accuracy standards that will be acceptable and recognised for determining the weight of a container. The Order will be available on AMSA’s website.


Estimations are not allowed and all cargo needs to be weighed either using method 1 or 2.


  • Method 1: weighing the packed container; or
  • Method 2: weighing all cargo items, including the weight of pallets and any dunnage, then adding the tare weight of the container. This must be done using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.

If the shipper wishes to check their equipment complies they can either make a submission on the AMSA site or


If you are not in possession of certified scales or wish to outsource this requirement, alternative approved weighing options (Method 1) for obtaining the VGM would include;

-          Transporting the container to a weighbridge

-          Calling an on-site mobile container weighing service

Important Note: where a VGM declaration is not provided, the container will not be loaded onto a vessel.



Once the shipper measures the weight of the container (using one of the two methods) this must be declared on the attached template provided and signed by the shipper or a person duly authorised by the shipper.


The shipper must ensure the VGM is provided sufficiently in advance as this is used by the ship’s master or his representative and the terminal representative in the preparation of the ship stowage plan.

If the VGM is not provided and approved the container will not be processed for loading on to the ship. If a container arrives at the gate of a terminal with shipping documentation that does not include the mandatory information, the container will not be granted access for loading on to the ship.


As per the revised Marine Order 42, penalties may apply for non-compliance with the requirements.


Please feel free to contact our Export Operations department if you require any further information.

BRi Export Department

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