container consolidation
© Scanrail

One of the world’s largest consolidator’s of less-than-container-loads (LCL) has revealed how it will tackle the forthcoming verified gross mass (VGM) requirement when submitting container shipment details.

Under the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) amendments to its SOLAS regulations, due to come into force on 1 July, every export container must be accompanied by a verified gross mass (VGM) document, delivered to the shipping line, confirming the weight of an export container before it can be loaded on a vessel.

Crucially, it is the company that books the shipment – the name on the bill of lading (B/L) – that must submit the VGM to the carrier. In many cases, this will be the freight forwarder rather than beneficial cargo owner (BCO).

However, US-based freight forwarder CaroTrans said that from 1 July, its LCL shipper clients would have to submit a VGM of their individual cargo, and it would then weigh the consolidated container to provide a VGM to the shipping line.

“Shippers will be responsible for submitting a certified VGM for each shipment. CaroTrans is responsible for obtaining, verifying and submitting the VGM of each consolidated container to the ocean carriers. Therefore, we will weigh all LCL export cargo at the loading gateway,” it said.

The company will levy a “VGM processing fee of $15 per shipment”, but if its weighing system discovers a variation between actual and declared weights, “a weigh and inspection fee of $25 per shipment will be applied”, it said.

The process is considerably easier for its full-container-load shippers – which can either submit their own VGM or request CaroTrans to do so act on its behalf.

“Since CaroTrans is not involved with the loading of an FCL container, the shipper is responsible for supplying a certified VGM before the posted terminal cutoff.  CaroTrans is responsible for submitting the container VGM to carriers and will apply a processing fee of $15 per container.

“If a certified VGM cannot be provided, CaroTrans can assist and will apply a VGM processing fee of $15 per container, plus all additional charges associated with verifying the container weight, including, but not limited to, weight ticket, additional drayage, demurrage, detention, waiting time, repositioning, etc,” it said.

Its added that shippers could submit their VGM to CaroTrans either by email or through its web portal.

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