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Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) – Verified Gross Mass (VGM) shipper’s declaration – Compliance date 1st July 2016.

In Customer Service Exports Freight Operations Posted June 15, 2016 at 11:19 am
By Steve Bradtke

Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) – Verified Gross Mass (VGM) shipper’s declaration – Compliance date 1st July 2016.

Effective for vessels sailing on or after 1st July 2016 from most export ports globally, all containerised seafreight shipments submitted for export will need to have a Verified Weight Declaration (VGM) submitted by Shippers.

For Australian exports, Verified Gross Mass (VGM) compliance actually starts on 22nd June 2016, which is the opening of the wharf terminal window for receivals for vessels sailing on/after 1st July 2016.

This is an International Maritime Organisation (IMO) global regulation, that in Australia is covered under Federal Government legislation administered through the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), it requires shippers of containerised seafreight cargo to make a lawful weight declaration.

Attached to this email is both an explanatory fact sheet from Shipping Australia Limited (SAL), and a Magellan presentation which gives a more detailed explanation of the new Shipper responsibilities. In these documents you will see references and an explanation to the only 2 methods which can be used to identify the “gross mass” of a container, or its contents. Should you need further information, clarification or advice on utilising either of these methods, please feel free to contact myself, or any member of our Export Team.

We have also updated our Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) to include a Verified Gross Mass Shipper’s declaration. For FCLs, a separate declaration is required for each packed container. Any shipments departing on or after 1st July 2016 will need to have the shipment details submitted via this updated SLI.

The SLI and VGM weight declaration must be submitted to us prior to any FCL or LCL cargo being received at the wharf terminal and/or depot. Please note the process for us to receive that declaration from the shipper, then retransmit it in the prescribed manner to the parties receiving the cargo at the terminal/depot can take at least 2 hours during normal working hours (Monday to Friday).

FCL Cargo:

For FCL the document that needs to be submitted to the wharf terminals is the PRA, which cannot be completed or transmitted without the compliant weight declaration. No containers will be accepted at any of the wharf terminals in any Australian port without a PRA having been submitted and accepted prior to any container arriving at the terminal gate.

LCL Cargo:

For LCL cargo, there is an allowance at some receiving depots to weigh the shipment upon arrival in the depot, however this is not the case for all depots, and does come at a significant cost.

Should method 1 be used by a Shipper to declare the weight, we need to make sure that adequate time is allowed for the container to go via a compliant weighing facility.

As the verified gross mass is now a lawful declaration of weight, estimations of weight are not permitted.

  • We can receive the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) Shipper’s declaration via any of the following means;
  • Original signed document via post/courier
  • Scanned signed document via email (PDF format).
  • Faxed signed document.
  • Transmitted XLS document, where the name of the person declaring the weight, is the same as the email address that the SLI/VGM is submitted to us on.

Should you need to discuss this process, get clarification on this new responsibility as a shipper, or just need advice on the options for getting your cargo weighed, please do not hesitate to give meor any of our Export Team a call on 1300 651 888.

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