409 vgm


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted amendments to International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Chapter VI, regulation 2 to:

  • improve container safety;
  • enhance maritime safety; and
  • reduce the dangers to container ships, their crews and all involved in moving containers through the supply chain.

These new amendments come into force on July 1st, 2016 under the auspices of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and section 104.(1) of the Cargo, Fumigation and Tackle Regulations (CFTR) and require the shipper of a packed container to provide the container’s verified gross mass (VGM) to the ocean carrier prior to loading.

The shipper must determine VGM using one of two methods.

Method 1: Weigh the loaded container; or

Method 2: Weigh all the items loaded into the container (including dunnage, securing material, etc.) and add the tare mass of the container to the sum of those single masses.

Transport Canada has released Ship Safety Bulletin 04/2016 and a guidance document, TP-15330 Canadian Procedure for Verification of the Gross Mass of Packed Containers.

Our Frequently Asked Questions (last updated June 15, 2016) provide further guidance to shippers exporting cargo by containers in the Pacific Region.