Info-X Software Technology, a premier logistic software solutions and back office support service provider for NVOCCs, and INTTRA, the world's ocean shipping electronic marketplace, are pleased to announce that they have joined forces to provide an integrated solution to Info-X customers in the US for submitting electronic Verified Gross Mass (VGM) information to ocean carriers in order to facilitate compliance with new container weight requirements. As of July 1, only containers with a VGM will be cleared to be loaded onto a ship under the International Maritime Organization's Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) VGM amendment.
The unrivalled scope of INTTRA's network creates efficiency by enabling the exchange of VGMs with multiple carriers through a single, standardized channel. Info-X customers will have access to the INTTRA eVGM Service, which provides operational capabilities for digital submission, receipt, processing and auditing of VGMs. Expansion of the INTTRA/Info-X alliance will enable Info-X customers to quickly and easily submit VGMs under multiple weighing and container packing scenarios without requiring changes to the process of booking containers or providing shipping instructions.
The consequences of misdeclaring the gross mass of a packed container can be far-reaching. Should a discrepancy between the declared gross mass and the actual gross mass of a packed container go unnoticed, it could have an adverse impact on the safety of the ship, seafarers and shore-side workers, by leading to incorrect vessel stowage decisions and potentially collapsed container stacks or loss of containers overboard.
In 2011, work started at IMO on the development of measures to prevent loss of containers. In view of marine casualties and incidents in which misdeclared container mass had been a contributing factor, one strand of the work was the possible establishment of a requirement that packed containers be weighed to obtain their actual gross mass prior to vessel loading.
1. The Shipper is responsible for providing a Verified Gross Mass (VGM) for each full container. He may decide between two methods: 1) to weigh the packed container or 2) to add the weight of all cargo items plus the weight of the packing material plus the tare weight of the container.
2. The VGM can only be ascertained for a completely packed container.
3. The shipper may delegate the actual procedure of ascertaining the VGM to a 3rd party, for example a weighing facility at an inland depot or at a terminal. This does not release the shipper from his responsibility according to 1 above.
4. The terminal must not load a packed container on a SOLAS ocean vessel as long as it is not in possession of its VGM.
5. The vessel command must not accept a packed container on board until they have been informed about its VGM.
6. The VGM is part of shipping documents. Besides the weight itself, the name of the responsible person authorized by the Shipper must be contained.
7. A container status may change from "VGM not available" to "VGM available". An existing VGM may be revised by means of EDI messages.
8. EDI messages must be able to distinguish "VGM" and "gross mass without verification".
9. The typical reporting chains is: Shipper - Carrier - Terminal - Vessel but different variants are possible