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Verified Gross Mass Requirements


Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is currently conducting compliance sampling of containers to verify that the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) to make sure that the requirements of Marine Order 42 (Carriage, stowage and securing of cargoes and containers) 2016 (‘MO42’) are being met.


What is MO42?

The MO42 requires shippers to ensure that the actual gross mass of each container is in accordance with the gross mass declared in the cargo information supplied to the master of the vessel. As we all know, if the discrepancy between the declared gross mass and the actual gross mass of a packed container go unnoticed, it could have an adverse impact on the safety of the ship, seafarers, and shore-side workers, by leading to incorrect vessel stowage decisions and potentially collapsed container stacks or loss of containers overboard. These are just some of the consequences of mis declaring the gross mass of a packed container.


Further, the legislation specifies two acceptable methods by which the gross mass of a container shall be verified by the shipper:


1. Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified equipment; or

2. Weighing all packages and cargo items (including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container) and adding the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses.

Both weighing methods require the use of calibrated and certified equipment complying with section 10(3) of MO42.


All shippers are to be aware of the following:


1. Which method of verification/weighing was used for their containers.

2. Evidence that the equipment in use is certified and calibrated as required.

3. Confirmation of meeting requirements of relevant legislation.


What is VGM?


The Verified Gross Mass or VGM is the combined weight of the container tare weight and weight of all cargo, including all packaging and dunnage.


IMPORTANCE:

By ensuring that you provide accurate and reliable weight information to the ocean carrier, the vessel’s stowage can be planned accordingly and there are fewer chances of accidents or injuries caused by inaccurate weight declarations.


The person who must supply the certified weight is the shipper or exporter. It must be present on the shipping document and given to his agent (the freight forwarder), who will give it to the port in time for the ship’s stowage strategy to get ready.


A packed container must meet the verified gross mass requirement before loading onto a ship. In other words, vessel owners can only put containers aboard their vessels whose weights have been confirmed.

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