The requirement to provide a gross mass has always been required by SOLAS and the change is that shippers now need to verify that they have arrived at an accurate value using either Method 1 or 2 – it is the shippers choice of which method is used.

Two methods available

Method 1

Weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment, weighbridges, or lifting equipment fitted with load cells, or other approved weighing equipment to determine a loaded container’s Verified Gross Mass (VGM).
Method 1 users are not required to register with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), however shippers must be able, upon request by the MCA or other body, provide both of the following:

  • Evidence that the weighing equipment has been supplied/maintained for the purpose of determining the VGM of a loaded container and is capable of producing a ‘ticket’ (physical or electronic record). Each ‘ticket’ must include the container number, the VGM of the container, and be supported by procedures for, and records of, any calculations which have been made. If this information is produced as an electronic record, it is essential itemised records are able to be provided for audit purposes without delay and able to be produced as a paper document, if requested.

  • Records kept of maintenance and verification (calibration) procedures, including any corrective/remedial actions taken.

Method 2

Method 2 involves weighing all packages and cargo items, including the mass of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the Tare (unladen) weight of the container, using a certified method approved by the MCA.

The UK method 2 process was developed with the assistance of an industry working group with the aim of minimising bureaucracy whilst using shippers existing procedures. It is envisaged that the registration process provides a level playing field for all shippers.

To be approved for Method 2 there is an indicative application document which provides details of all the information required in a checklist format. Click here to view

The approvals fee is £94.00, which must be paid in advance of the Approval Document being issued. Payment details can be found here

For more information please contact Stephanie Warrington on 01254 356473 or