Export Weight Declaration form – SOLAS Container weight requirements for shippers

By Margaret Bux
clock 3 min

Effective from July 1st, 2016, all shippers, as a requirement under international shipping regulations, are responsible for verifying the weight of containers (the verified gross mass or VGM) and providing this information to carriers sufficiently in advance of vessel loading.

Estimates will not be allowed and shippers can  use two methods to obtain the actual weights:

  1. Packed and sealed containers can be weighed using calibrated and certified equipment, for example, using a scale, weighbridge or with terminal lifting equipment.
  1. Items and their packaging in the containers can be weighed and added to the tare weight of the container to obtain the total gross mass weight.

Electronic methods of transmission such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or Electronic Data Processing (EDP) may be used to send the VGM data.

To assist our clients, an Export Weight Declaration – SOLAS form is provided on our resources page, following this link:  Export weight declaration form – SOLAS

This new regulation is expected to significantly increase safety and efficiency for all parties in the supply chain:

  • Shippers will benefit from a reduced risk of damage to their cargoes.
  • Carriers, who over the years, have sought more control over the weight of containers, will now gain increased safety for their crews and vessels, as well as time savings and improved stowage. It was thought that weight may have played a contributing factor to a shipping incident in India two years ago (pictured), where the shipping vessel was broken in half, under the weight of the containers.
  • Terminal operators will benefit from better pre-stowage, and faster and more efficient dispatch.

If you have any questions or enquiries about how to verify the weight of your shipping container, feel free to call the Clarke Global team on 9854 3000 or email

Further information on the legislation can be found at:


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