New SOLAS Rules for Declaration of Container Weights

New SOLAS Rules for Declaration of Container Weights

15 June 2016


New SOLAS Rules for declaration of container weights

As LPC has previously advised, the new SOLAS rules around the declaration of container weights will come into force on 1 July 2016. This will require export containers to have a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) declared prior to shipment. All export-bound containers from road, rail or coastal transhipment vessels must have the VGM information before they are received onto a port container terminal. Lyttelton Port Company will be applying the rule “No VGM - No entry”.

While the legislation takes effect from 1 July, changes inprocess to ensure compliance are effective today the 15th June to ensure vessels transiting during that period are not held up due to a lack of VGM information if loading is delayed beyond 1 July 2016. The VGM fields are now available for entry on our electronic pre-advice system and carters note. The VGM fields will remain optional until Monday 20th June at which time they will become mandatory and any export-bound containers arriving at port with no VGM will not be accepted.

Information relating to how VGM is to be communicated to us can be found at While manual carters’ notes will continue to be accepted, it should be noted that LPC will soon move to electronic methods only. We strongly encourage you to register for electronic pre-advice. This can ben done by email request to .

There is an expectation that the VGM advised at time of gate in is the correct certified weight. If for any reason the VGM is required to be changed after gate in, this will need to be completed by LPC. We will require written notification of the required change and a charge of $150 per container will be enforced. The form is available on our website.To ensure vessel planning and operations can be carried out in an efficient and timely manner, all required information must be provided to the terminal no later than six hours prior to vessel arrival. This includes a valid CEDO. Containers without complete information at this time will be removed from the load list and not loaded on the vessel. Charges for this will apply. Please note that cargo cut off times will continue to be set by individual shipping lines. If shippers have any queries regarding cut-off times they should contact the lines directly.

Background Information

As part of the international requirement under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and the amendments made to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, as a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship for export, all containers now require a verified weight. The shipper is responsible for the verification of the container's weight, also known as Verified Gross Mass (VGM). Further information regarding the changes to SOLAS, definitions of what constitutes a VGM and method for calculating a VGM can be found at

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