SOLAS (Safety of Live at Sea)

Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for container shipments from 1 July 2016


To guarantee the safety of shipping, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has decided in the framework of the SOLAS Convention (Chapter VI Part A Rule 2) that, as from 1 July 2016, no more containers may be loaded onto a ship if their gross mass has not been verified and confirmed.

The new SOLAS guidelines apply worldwide and must be strictly observed. This therefore also concerns our customers, on whose behalf we collect loaded containers for marine transport, as well as our business partners who load/stuff containers on our instructions for loading onto seagoing vessels.

We have compiled all the important information and the most frequently asked questions on this topic for you in a small manual. Please also note the references to your “obligation to cooperate” in this regard.

We need to rely on your assistance to avoid delays and additional costs in the transport process. In this context, please also note that we work according to the latest ADSp 2016. Under paragraph 3.1.2 b of the ADSp 2016, you are obliged, as our client, to draw our attention to all necessary data in accordance with the maritime safety provisions (e.g. SOLAS) in the case of maritime transport consignments.

ISO (e.g. 9001) and AEO-certified companies are entitled to use method 2 to determine the VGM. Otherwise, the calculation sheet published by the competent authority (BG Verkehr) can be used to calculate the individual masses. Please note that it is not possible to put a load on a seagoing vessel without your stating the VGM.

What do you have to do by 1 July 2016?

1.      Make organisational arrangements to determine and document the verified gross mass of containers.

2.      Submit the verified gross mass of the container to ECL GmbH immediately after loading.

We would point out that the sole responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of all the information required to carry out the orders placed with us lies with the party loading the container. Should it be ascertained during a spot check that the VGM information given by you is incorrect or missing, there will be a threat of a shipping ban, also involving additional costs in addition to time delays. To avoid this, we need to rely on the information given by you and assume that the VGM is provided to us in accordance with the SOLAS requirements. Furthermore, we also need to point out that the documentary evidence of the calculation of the VGM has to be archived by you or the loader of the container for a minimum period of 3 months.

Alternatively, scales of weighing category IV are available for use for shipments via the Port of Lübeck at a charge. Please feel free to contact us.

We thank you for your understanding and support. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.


SOLAS Guideline - Questions and answers can be found here.

Calculation sheet published by the competent authority (BG Verkehr can be found here.


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European Cargo Logistics GmbH
Zum Hafenplatz 1
D-23570 Lübeck
Phone: +49 4502 3075 – 0

European Cargo Logistics GmbH
Am Skandinavienkai 6
D-18147 Rostock
Phone: +49 381 67069 – 0


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