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With just 50 days until SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) comes into force APM Terminals is taking the lead to ensure a smooth transition into the new regulatory environment facing over 120 million containers entering the international supply chain. Under international law from 1st July, 2016 shippers are required to provide a VGM for every container before it can be loaded with the shipping line.

In 2014, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating international seaborne trade, approved amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) which as of 1st July 2016 will require verification and documentation of loaded containers (Verified Gross Mass, or “VGM”) before they can be loaded onto vessels. This can be accomplished by either weighing the loaded container with calibrated and certified equipment, or weighing the cargo prior to loading and adding it to the tare weight of the empty container. The purpose of the VGM regulations is to assure safety of the vessel, as well as dockworkers and other cargo handlers by preventing overweight or otherwise misrepresented containers from jeopardizing shipments or container movements.

“Our first priority remains to ensure safe and efficient operations for the supply chain,” said APM Terminals’ Head of Global Operations, Jack Craig, who added: “It is crucial that these regulations are met in a way which does not create congestion bottlenecks that ultimately impose additional risk and cost for all stakeholders”.

APM Terminals teams are in contact with the local regulatory authorities providing increasing clarity on national rules governing how to ensure compliance. Operational procedures and processes are being reviewed to ensure VGM Process Compliance throughout the APM Terminals Global Terminal Network.  APM Terminals is planning to provide VGM Data Management capabilities in most facilities through accepting EDI transmissions of VGM information into terminal operating systems from the shipping lines prior to vessel load planning.

Export containers which are received at APM Terminal facilities with a valid VGM will be accepted as per current local operational procedures. Those export containers which arrive at APM Terminal facilities without a valid VGM will be generally accepted, but as they are ineligible to load on a vessel, may be segregated and subject to additional re-handling and storage requirements.

Initially, APM Terminals will provide VGM Generation Services to supply chain partners at 29 locations globally. These locations are:

Aarhus, Denmark Fos, France Pecem, Brazil
Abidjan, Ivory Coast Gothenburg, Sweden Petrolesport, Russia
Aqaba, Jordan Mumbai, India Pointe-Noire, Congo
Bahrain Helsinki, Finland Santos, Brazil
Bremerhaven, Germany Itajai, Brazil Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia
Buenos Aires,  Argentina Izmir, Turkey Ust-Luga, Russia
Callao, Peru Moby Dick, Russia Vado, Italy
Cotonou, Benin Pipavav, India Vostochny, Russia
First Container Terminal, Russia Lazaro, Mexico Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Rades, Tunisia Port Said, Egypt

            Locations may be adjusted subject to market developments 

APM Terminals aims to add further locations where VGM support services can be offered.