Winter Plan Commitment

SOLAS Verified Gross Mass Requirements Guidance Document

Chapter 6, Part A, Regulation 2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) was amended in May 2014 requiring each packed container to have verified gross mass (VGM) certification prior to stowage aboard a vessel. This amendment will become effective on July 1, 2016.

Transport Canada is the governing authority regarding marine safety in Canada as outlined by the Canada Marine Act. Transport Canada has published its procedures regarding SOLAS VGM regulations, titled “Canadian Procedure for Obtaining the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of Packed Containers as Required by SOLAS V1/2” and can be found online at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/tp-menu-515-4505.html.

To summarize:

  • The shipper/cargo owner is responsible for obtaining the verified gross mass of a packed container
  • The shipper/cargo owner is responsible for providing the ocean carrier with VGM certification for each packed container via documentation provided sufficiently in advance of loading for the purpose of the vessel’s stowage plan
  • The ocean carrier cannot load a packed container onto a vessel if the container does not have VGM certification.

Ceres-Halifax Corp. operating Fairview Cove Container Terminal, and Halterm Ltd. operating South End Container Terminal will accept all export packed containers arriving by truck, rail or short sea domestic service without VGM certification; however, these packed containers will not be loaded by the ocean carrier until proper VGM certification is obtained.

South End container terminal operated by Halterm Ltd will provide weight scaling service at its terminal truck gates for a fee.

We recommend that shippers engage in discussions with their industry associations and contact their ocean carriers to determine the final VGM certification process. Many of the ocean carriers calling Halifax have posted their VGM certification process and/or instructions to their web site(s).

The Halifax Port Authority does not anticipate issuing port tariff cargo regulations in relation to SOLAS VGM requirements.