Verified Gross Mass

All information you need to know on SOLAS and how to determine the VGM of your ocean freight cargo.

The Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS Convention) is an international maritime treaty which requires mandatory verification of the gross weight of containers prior to stowage aboard ship. This regulation prohibits the loading of a packed container on board a vessel unless the verified gross mass (VGM) information has been provided in advance to the ocean carrier. These requirements have been implemented by the IMO, as the consequences of a mis-declaration of the weight could have an adverse impact on the safety of the ship, crew and shore-side equipment and workforce.

As per the regulation, the VGM information has to be provided by the Shipper named on Bill of Lading. It is important to ensure that the VGM information is processed in an accurate and timely manner, and is submitted to the relevant parties involved in the handling of the containers (e.g. Carriers, Marine Terminals, Vessel Operators). Agility will support you in this process by submitting the information to the carriers in a timely manner and monitoring the processing of the VGM in order to avoid any delays.

At the time of Booking Confirmation, your local Agility Office will advise you when VGM information has to be submitted to Agility. In order to facilitate the submission, you can use the on-line functionality available on agility.com to send the VGM information directly to your local Agility Office. Just enter your Agility Shipment reference in “Track Your Shipment” field and select the “VGM” button.

The VGM can be determined as follows

Method 1:

By weighing the stuffed container using calibrated and certified equipment approved by the designated authority of the country in which packing of the container was completed.

Method 2:

By weighing all packages, pallets, dunnage, securing material, etc. that have been packed into the container and by adding the tare weight of the container to the sum of the single weights, using a certified method approved by the assigned authority of the country in which packing of the container was completed.

The regulation does not permit any type of estimation. The designated authorities have been listed as part of the information available on the World Shipping Council website. As the enforcement of the SOLAS requirements falls within the competence of different designated authorities in each country, the rules might be implemented differently in each country. Your local Agility office can provide you with further information on local requirements in order to be compliant with SOLAS/VGM. Further information can also be found under the link


Containers for which the VGM information has not been submitted, or has been submitted late or with incorrect data, will not be loaded on board the scheduled vessel. All costs that will be incurred as a result of late/inaccurate submission will be for the account of the shipper.

Additional information on the IMO / SOLAS requirement can be found on www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/cargo-weight

Please contact your nearest Agility office for further information.