Penalties for misdeclaration of VGM (Verified Gross Mass)

14 Jul 2020

Effective July 2016, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced a weighing obligation for containers. Under these regulations, the shipper is obliged to determine the gross weight (VGM = Verified Gross Mass) before shipping the export container and to pass it on to the carrier. The shipper, or we as a forwarder, must therefore send the BL instructions with the correct VGM to the carrier.


Several carriers have announced in recent weeks that they will apply fines if an incorrect VGM is reported.

The rules differ per shipping company, and there are different margins within which deviations may be made.

Fines can be imposed in various cases, including:

  1. Discrepancy between VGM and weight declared in shipping instruction (Shipping instruction weight + Container Tare weight),
  2. Declared VGM exceeds Max Gross Weight of the container as per “Container Safety Convention Plate” (excluding Shipper Owned Container), or
  3. Declared VGM is less than Tare Weight of the container.

These fines can be as much as USD 500,-.

More information 

Please contact our export department if you have any questions or check our clear overview on our website: