Skip to content

Mandatory weight verification of export containers

As of July 1, 2016, the gross weight of a container must be verified by the shipper before loading.

Following the resolution of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in November 2014, the gross weight of individual ship containers must be determined, documented and communicated to the carrier before loading starting from July 1, 2016.

Erroneous information about container weights has often caused ships being loaded incorrectly in the past and this has repeatedly resulted in serious incidents and accidents. The new regulation is part of the SOLAS convention and should contribute to improving ship safety in the long term. The risk of damage to and loss of goods for the consignor will also be reduced simultaneously.

How can containers be weighed in accordance with the SOLAS guideline?

  • Method 1: Weighing of the fully loaded container by the shipper or third party commissioned by the shipper. Method 1 can be used for all types of containers and goods to be shipped.
  • Method 2: The total weight is determined by adding the weights of the individual goods, packaging, dunnage and unladen weight of the container. An estimation of the individual weights is not permitted. Method 2 is not permitted for all cargo. It cannot be used, for example, for scrap, waste, loose grains and other bulk goods. To use Method 2, the shipper must be certified.

How is the certification for users of Method 2 regulated?

The authority responsible for the implementation of the SOLAS guidelines in Germany is the employers' liability insurance association BG Verkehr. According to BG Verkehr, the gross weight of the individual parts can be calculated within the framework of an existing certification (ISO or AEO). This requires the process to be documented. There should be no deadline for incorporating the process in the quality documents. This should be able to take place during the normal audit.

Since not all the shippers have an ISO / AEO certification, BG Verkehr has developed an additional method to calculate the verified gross mass. The form can be found on the website of Deutsche Flagge


For containers that are to be transshipped after July 1, 2016, the VGM must be known at the port of origin prior to departure. If the VGM is not known, the container cannot be loaded or must remain in the transshipment port until the VGM is provided.

What information is mandatory when submitting the VGM to DB Schenker? In which format can this information be transmitted?

The following information is mandatory when submitting the VGM to DB Schenker: The verified gross mass on a document related to the consignment including the following additional details:

  • Name and address of the shipper
  • Container number
  • Date when VGM was submitted
  • Weighing method used
  • Signature of authorized person. Alternatively, the signature can be transmitted electronically by writing the name of the responsible person in upper case letters.

By when must the VGM be reported to DB Schenker?

DB Schenker must receive the VGM in due time so that the data can be forwarded to the carrier within its specified deadline. Based on the previous notification deadlines of the carriers, we expect the VGM deadline to be between 24-49 hours prior to the arrival of the ship at the port of loading. The deadlines may vary, since they are determined by the carriers.

What are the tolerance limits in Germany?

A "zero tolerance" rule has been in place in Germany since July 1, 2016. No deviations from the specified VGM are tolerated during random checks. However, the technical inaccuracies of the scales used are taken into account by BG Verkehr.

How is the VGM submitted to DB Schenker in the case of LCL consignments?

For our consolidation product LCL DB Schenker is the Shipper to the Ocean Carrier. We are, therefore directly responsible for obtaining and transmitting the VGM of the consolidated container in a timely manner to ensure the container is loaded onto the vessel.

As we already receive the accurate gross weight of the shipment from you we will not ask for a separate VGM statement. If you are not able to provide the accurate weight DB Schenker can arrange the weighing service for you. Since the infrastructure and therewith weighing possibilities are different in every country please ask your local DB Schenker office for the related cost.


  • The container will not be loaded onto the ship if the VGM has not been received by the carrier. In this case, the shipper may incur considerable extra charges.
  • The shipper specified in the bill of lading or sea waybill is responsible for the documentation of the weight and transfer to the carrier.
  • The VGM must be passed on to the carrier on time. The notification deadline can vary depending on the carrier. Based on the previous notification deadlines of the carriers, the VGM must be received between 24 and 48 hours prior to the arrival of the ship at the port of loading.

Further information can be found here.