Please find below our compiled FAQs to help you better understand Verified Gross Mass (VGM) requirements.
If the shipper is not able to provide your company with the VGM for each packed container, can you still load the containers?
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has amended the SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) convention under regulation 2 of chapter VI which mandates the declaration of the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a packed container before loading on board vessels within a prescribed cut-off date / time to the shipping line and / or port terminal authorities. Accordingly, APL will not load any containers without VGM.
Where can the shipper find the tare of the container?
Our containers are compliant with all ISO requirements. The tare weight is displayed on each container on the right door. Maintenance and repair are also taken into account and reflected on the outside of the container. Download our brochure for more information about our containers and equipment.
Tare information of our fleet is also available on our website including long and short term leased units. You can key in (or copy-paste) a list of containers and download the result in an excel page. You can organize per package up-to 500 Container per list.
On eBusiness platform:
For customers submitting their Shipping Instructions (SI) via our eBusiness platform (login required) this information is already available. The packer who will use Method 2 will be able to take into account this data for the global calculation of the VGM. Tare information can be found on eBusiness platform on this page (login required).
How do I register for an account on My APL?
Click here to register. Your account will be validated and created within 4 hours. Once registered, you can submit VGM information online.
What is the process for VGM submission?
The standard procedure is that the shipper produces the VGM, and upon receipt of the VGM, APL will transmit the information to the terminal. However, at this stage, the regulation is not always the same per country, port or terminal. Local regulation can overrule the standard process.
Two different channels of communication are accepted:
1. Electronic - through our regular eCommerce channels (eBusiness platform or Direct EDI connection with us) or through our third-party service providers (INTTRA, GT Nexus, CargoSmart)
2. Manual - by email with an excel template. VGM transmission will be accepted but this is not the preferred option. This service will be charged at USD$25 / container.
The below information should be submitted for each container:
- VGM = figures (mandatory)
- UOM = (unity of measurement) Standard local UOM, to be managed under Kgs (mandatory)
- Weighing type = Code ( Method 1 or Method 2 ) (optional)
- Signature = free text to contain a name in capital letters (mandatory)
- VGM “certificate” reference (optional)
- Booking Number (mandatory) or BL Number if applicable (optional)
- Container number (mandatory)
APL will provide our customers with an operational VGM cut-off. The VGM cut-off will appear on the booking confirmation. The VGM information must be received at any time between booking and VGM cut-off.
VGM can be modified after submission until VGM cut-off. Any amendment done after VGM cut-off will be charged USD$100 per container plus all related costs in/outside the terminal, including but not limited to storage, trucking, detention and demurrage, pre-carriage/on-carriage, re-nomination/change of vessel fees and terminal charges.
The last VGM submitted will be the one used for the preparation of the stowage plan, which will help to prevent accidents aboard, damages and/or containers lost at sea. The VGM will contribute to greater safety throughout the supply chain.
Empty containers and breakbulk cargoes are exempted from VGM submission.
What tolerance (variance) will you accept for the VGM if any?
Tolerance is fixed by countries and local competent authorities, who may carry out random checks. APL will comply with global regulations as well as local policies.
Operationally speaking, APL may consider a variance of 1 ton between the VGM communicated by the shipper and what the terminal operator would observe, i.e. no correction of the VGM will be made, should the variance be less 1 ton. APL will not re-weigh a container which already has a VGM unless a terminal reports abnormal/ excessive weight at time of handling, thereby preventing the loading of such container.
Some terminals and countries are imposing their own procedures, which we will have to follow. We will update you with the latest information on our website as and when available.
What happens if there is no VGM available at gate-in?
Regulations across port terminals are not homogenous. We recommend our customers to make sure every container has its VGM before gate-in.
If the terminal is able to weigh the container: all related costs charged by terminal will be invoiced to the shipper accordingly, including but not limited to weighing charge, lift-on and lift-off.
If the terminal has no equipment to provide a VGM by using Method 1 , the shipper will be liable for all costs associated to the stoppage of the container inside/outside the terminal, including but not limited storage, trucking, detention and demurrage, pre-carriage/on-carriage, re-nomination/change of vessel fees and terminal charges.
APL is in close contact with all terminals to collect all information on their respective VGM implementation policies. We will provide this information on our website as and when it is available.
Do you intend to offer a weighing service as a "value added service"?
Yes. It is our intention to do our best to assist our customers along the process. Upon request, and where possible, APL will offer the option through a third party. Information and tariffs are available through our Group Agency Network.
The new SOLAS amendments spell out clearly that it is the shipper’s responsibility to provide the VGM to carriers sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan. In the instance where the shipper engages a third party to obtain the VGM, the shipper will remain the responsible party. In the case of a missing VGM that causes the shipper’s container not being loaded, the shipper will remain liable for any associated costs.
When and how would penalties apply in case of discrepancy between VGM weight provided by the shipper and weight controlled by the relevant authority?
During the container’s journey, random checks can be made by any authority either at the Port of Loading, Port of Transshipment or Port of Discharge.
In case of “no load” instructed by a terminal at Port of Loading, or in case of fines imposed at destination by the local authorities, the Party responsible for VGM declaration will be liable. As per SOLAS VGM regulation, the loading country’s weight regulation will apply (such as tolerance, fines, method used, etc.).
Must I have VGM information ready at pre-carriage and/or during inland transportation (via multimodal transport)?
In case packed containers are transported by road, rail or barge before being shipped on board our vessels, we request the VGM from the shipper named on the B/L or its representative as soon as the packed containers start the inland transportation journey.
What is the Unit of Measure (UOM)?
TON (US TON) TNE (Metric Tonne) KGM (Kilogramme) LBS (Livre) 1,10231 TON 1 TNE 1000 KGM 2204,62 LBS