Dear Clients,

Further to our previous advice, effective 1st July 2016 the International Maritime Organization will mandate amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. This requires ALL shippers (Australian exporters) to provide the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of a container carrying cargo.

Verified Gross Mass (VGM) is defined as the verified weight of ALL cargo, packing material plus the container tare weight.

LCL (Less than Container Load) exports:

A VGM declaration is not required for LCL shipments. However it’s still very important you provide the accurate weight of your consignment, as this may be used by the company declaring the VGM to the terminal.

FCL (Full Container Load) exports:

Effective 1st July, 2016 Aurora requires ALL shippers (Australian exporters) to complete the VGM declaration on Aurora’s ‘Shippers Letter of Instruction’ (example below). The weight declared on this document will be submitted to the terminal and used for vessel planning and safe stowage of containers aboard the vessel.

If you are a regular exporter and prefer to streamline your documentation process, shippers can add/or make an additional VGM declaration on their internal packing list template.

This declaration must include;

  1. The method in which the VGM was calculated:
    1. Method 1. The container including all cargo, packing materials and container tare weight was physically weighed using certified equipment.
    2. Method 2. The VGM was calculated by summing all cargo packages, including packing materials (i.e pallets) plus the container tare weight.
  2. The shipper responsible for packing the container is required to sign, date and print their name as a part of the VGM Declaration.

Aurora will not accept SLI’s or Packing Lists until these conditions are satisfied. Shippers unable to provide the VGM and require the container to be weighed will incur additional fees.


It is understood that containers exceeding the maximum payload will not be loaded onto the vessel. In the event a container’s weight is found to be over the maximum tolerance (+/- 1 tonne), costs that arise (additional transport, weighing costs and repacking) will be borne by the party who incorrectly declared the weight.

It is important that shippers provide their export documents to our staff before the truck collects the full container from your premise. Any delays in reporting the VGM to the terminal may result in unnecessary waiting time, demurrage charges and the container potentially missing the intended ship.

If you have any questions regarding these new requirements and how your company will be affected, please don’t hesitate to call our office.

Kind Regards,

Aurora Global Logistics