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What is VGM?

VGM stands for Verified Gross Mass and refers to the total weight of the packed container, as verified by an official party.

Officially it stands for Verified Gross Mass.  So you may see the VGM acronym, but here at 1-Stop we will refer to it as the Verified Gross Weight in its elongated form.

 

What is the Verified Gross Weight change about?

The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), at its ninety-fourth session (17-21 November 2014), adopted amendments to SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulation VI/2 (see resolution MSC.380 (94)) to require the mandatory verification of the gross weight of packed containers.

 

The aforementioned SOLAS amendments introduced two main new requirements:

  1. the shipper is responsible for providing the verified weight by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan; and
  2. the verified gross weight is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship.

 

The verification of the gross weight can be achieved by either of two methods:

  1. Method 1: weighing the packed container; or
  2. Method 2: weighing all packages and cargo items, including the weight of pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and adding the tare weight of the container to the sum of the single weights, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.
  3. Update: In October 2016, the new Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne will start operating and will use a third method – WAT – Weigh At Terminal.

The amendments to SOLAS regulation VI/2 were accepted on 1 January 2016 and came into force on 1 July 2016.

 

What does this mean?

This means that any packed containers that leave Australia MUST have a VGM declared on the shipping documents.  From the 1st July, 2016, terminals will not load any packed containers on to the vessel unless they have the VGM supplied for that container. 

 

Who is responsible for providing the VGM?

The SOLAS amendments introduce two main new requirements:

  1. the shipper is responsible for providing the verified weight by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it (through the PRA) to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance to be used in the preparation of the ship stowage plan; and
  2. the verified gross mass is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship.

The shipper is defined as a legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. "through" bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company (see paragraph 2.1.12 of the Guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo (MSC.1/Circ.1475)).

 

What is a PRA?

PRA stands for Pre-Receival Advice, and is the electronic message that is sent from the exporter, passing through and validated by 1-Stop, to the stevedores (terminals).  The PRA message contains vital information relating the goods that are about to be exported, and the container information that the goods are carried in. 

A 1-Stop initiative that was introduced to Australia in 2003, the purpose of the PRA was to eliminate errors associated with paperwork in regards to the declaration of exports.  Consequently, it improved the standard of information for containers arriving at the terminal.  Now, all export containers must first have an PRA accepted by the terminal before the container can be delivered.

 

How can parties report the VGM?

In Australia, 1-Stop's PRA is the accepted standard export shipping documentation to the terminal representative.  Thus, reporting the VGM to the terminal representative is to be done through the PRA.

 

What Verified Gross Weight info needs to be reported?

As a result of the SOLAS regulation, the following information must be provided:

  • Verified Gross Weight for all non-empty container
  • Weight calculation method
  • Date of verification
  • Name of Declarant
  • Company name of the Declarant
  • Phone or email of the Declarant.

 

How can the Verified Gross Weight info be reported?

The data reported in the PRA can be either sent from:

  1. 1-Stop's website.  As a subscriber to 1-Stop Gateway, you can use our online form to submit the PRA with the VGM info.  Update: In October 2016, when the VICT will use the WAT method, we'll update the PRA form too.  

    Current PRA formNew PRA form that you'll see in Oct 2016

    If WAT is selected:

    • Shipper Details are still mandatory.
    • Gross Weight is mandatory even though it replaces Verified Gross Weight
    • The Weight Certificate Details will automatically be set with VICT's details



    or

  2. Your own software.  If you use a program on your computer to send PRAs, you or your software developer will need to make some changes to cater for the VGM details.

 

What changes need to be made to the software program so that the VGM info is reported?

Let your software developer know that they'll need to make some changes in the software AND in the electronic message that's sent to 1-Stop.  The table below will help the developer understand what needs to change in the electronic message: 

All Technical Specifications are here.

IFTERA

CSV

XML

How to declare the VGM:


1. Add another MEA segment with:

a.“VGM” identifier
b.“KGM” identifier
c.Weight in kilograms

 

2. Add another FTX segment with:

a.Method of weight calculation (SM1 or SM2) (or WAT, to be used in October 2016)
b.Date and time of weighing
c.Declarant contact info

 

Example:

MEA+AAE+VGM+KGM:11700’

FTX+AAY++SM2:VGM+201601211600UTC:CONTAINER LTD;STREET;CITY;COUNTRY:JOE BLOKE;J EXPORTER;0424222333;JBLOKE@EMAIL.COM:JOE BLOKE’

 

For more information including testing, see our tech guide

How to declare the VGM:

Add these new fields:

58 – verified gross weight in kilograms

59 – method of weight calculation (SM1 or SM2) (or WAT, to be used in October 2016)

60 – verification date and time

61-69 – declarant contact info

 

Example:

Note: the sample line starts at field 58

 

…..|32001|SM1|201601211600UTC|CONTAINER WEIGHTING LTD|1 BAY STREET|SYDNEY|AUSTRALIA|JOE BLOKE|J EXPORTER|0424222333|JBLOKE@EMAIL.COM|JOE BLOKE

 

For more information including testing, see our tech guide

How to declare the VGM:

Add these new elements:

a.VerifiedGrossWeight
b.VGMCertificateStatement
   I.MethodOfWeightCalculation
   II.WeighVerificationDate
   III.WeightCertificateIssuingParty
   IV.Declarant
   V.EDISignature

 

Example:

Note: the sample only shows the VerifiedGrossWeight element

 

<VerifiedGrossWeight>25473</VerifiedGrossWeight>

 

For more information including testing, see our tech guide

Notes: 

  • Where the WAT is the method of weight, we will treat the VGM weight field as optional.
  • The declarant details and the EDI signature are required for WAT method of weight calculation.
  • When the method is WAT, we recommend that you supply the weight certificate issuing party details as VICT.

 

Can the developer test the PRA VGM changes?

Yes.  

You can start testing the WAT changes from 19th September, 2016. We have a dedicated team you can contact: pravgmtest@1-stop.biz.

IFTERACSVXML

Email to:

stop20@test.1-stop.biz

 

Subject:

When sending the email, the subject can be anything that is meaningful to you.

 

NOTE: The PRA details must be in the attachment of the email. Only one container is permitted in each IFTERA message.

Email to:

stop20@test.1-stop.biz

 

Subject:

When sending the email, the subject line must contain this string: PRA CSV

 

NOTE: The PRA details must be in the attachment of the email.

The attachment file name is flexible but we suggest you use: PRA_CSVYYYYMMDDHHMM.csv

 

Email to:

stop20@test.1-stop.biz

 

Subject:

When sending the email, the subject line must contain this string: PRA XML

 

NOTE: The PRA details must be in the attachment of the email.

The attachment file name is flexible but we suggest you use: PRA_XMLYYYYMMDDHHMM.xml

For all other support enquiries, please talk to our helpdesk as usual: helpdesk@1-stop.biz

 

Can I provide both the Gross Weight and the Verified Gross Weight in the PRA message?

For empty containers, only the Gross Weight is required.  For non-empty containers, the VGM segment is now mandatory and you will have to send the VGM info otherwise the PRA will be rejected. 

If you give us the Gross Weight as well, we'll ignore it and send the VGM details to the terminal with the PRA.

Update: In October 2016, the new Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne will introduce a third method – WAT – Weigh At Terminal.  So if you use the WAT method, you are not required to send the VGM, just the gross weight.


What happens if I don't send the VGM?

Your PRA will be rejected and you will get the APERAK response telling you why.  This means that the terminal won't have your PRA and the container can't be delivered. 

 

If my PRA gets rejected because of something to do with the VGM, what will the rejection message look like?

The APERAK message will have a status "REJECTED", and contain the error code and description.  The codes and descriptions are in the following table. 

Error code

Description

ERA0024

Gross Weight or Verified Gross Weight not supplied

ERA0601

Method of Weight Calculation SM1, SM2 or WAT must be provided

ERA0602

Verified Gross Weight Certificate Date Time not provided

ERA0603

Name of Declarant not provided

ERA0604

Company of Declarant not provided

ERA0605

Declarant Contact Details not provided

ERA0606

EDI Signature of the Declarant not provided  

ERA0607

Container to be weighed at the terminal is not an option at this terminal. Verified gross weight and the SOLAS method of weight calculation must be provided.

ERA0608

OUTOFGAUGE Commodity code must be supplied with a Verified Gross Weight with method of weighing as either Method 1 (SM1) or Method 2 (SM2)

ERA0609Declarant email is not in the correct format
ERA0610Declarant phone number must be numbers
ERA0612The Container Verified Gross Weight must be greater than the Container Tare Weight
  

 

If using the WAT method, your PRA will be rejected if:

Error code

Description

ERA0611

The commodity cannot be weighed at the terminal

ERA0605Declarant Contact Details not provided
ERA0606EDI Signature of the Declarant not provided
ERA0024Gross Weight or Verified Gross Weight not supplied
Note: If the method is WAT and both VGM and Gross Weight are provided, we will only care about the gross weight and ignore the VGM. 

 

When must I send the Verified Gross Weight data in PRA?

From 22nd June, 2016, the PRA will be rejected if the Verified Gross Weight info is not supplied for non empty containers.

 

Where can I find the updated PRA specification?

You can find the PRA specifications on our website.  Go to www.1-stop.com  and then go to Help → Technical Specifications → 1-Stop Gateway.  You'll see the technical specifications there.

 

Will 1-Stop send VGM details to shipping lines?

Yes.  We are providing VGM details in the form of a VERMAS message to shipping lines.  


Do I have to provide VGM for Empties and/or Stackruns?

VGM details are only mandatory for “Packed Containers”.  If you're delivering Empties (either singularly or as part of an Empty Stackrun), then you don't need to provide the VGM.

 

Can I modify VGM details once a PRA has been accepted?

Yes.  Since you can always send a replacement PRA after it has been accepted (and if the container hasn't been gated-in or the vessel hasn't cut off), you can also send a replacement PRA with amended VGM info too.  Wait for the terminal to accept the replacement PRA though.  

If the container has already been gated-in, then you'll need to speak to the terminal about what to do next.


What is WAT?

WAT stands for Weighed At Terminal.  This is the third method of calculating the VGM, and will be an option in October 2016, when VICT start receiving containers for export.


Which terminals use WAT?

In Australia, only VICT will accept containers to be weighed at terminal.  However, some container types cannot be weighed at the terminal:  

Commodity CodeDescription
OOGOut of Gauge
BOATBoat
NESTNest of flat racks or bolsters
FLEXFlexitank

For these commodities, either method 1 or method 2 must be used instead.

 

Can I still use SM1 or SM2 for VICT?

Yes.  But the terminal will still weigh your container (if it's not one of the commodities listed in the table above).  Read on, because there are rules around it.

 

How does WAT work? 

Here's what happens when you deliver your container to VICT with the method of weight as WAT declared in the PRA:

  1. VICT weighs the container
  2. VICT sends the VGM weight electronically to 1-Stop
  3. 1-Stop then forwards that information electronically to the shipping line, who has the booking as indicated in the PRA, in the form of a VERMAS EDIFACT message. The Method of weighing will be Method 1-weigh the whole container.
    (The code will be SM1 in the VERMAS message to the shipping line)
  4. Your container proceeds to VICT's yard to be exported.

 

How does it work at VICT when I use SM1 or SM2?

You can still use methods 1 or 2, however VICT will still weigh your container before accepting it for export.  

  1. VICT will send their VGM weight to 1-Stop if there is a significant difference between the VICT recorded weight and the declared weight on the PRA.
  2. 1-Stop shows this new weight in the PRA status screen
    1. 1-Stop then forwards that information electronically to the shipping line, who has the booking as indicated in the PRA, in the form of a VERMAS EDIFACT message. The Method of weighing will be Method 1-weigh the whole container.
      (The code will be SM1 in the VERMAS message to the shipping line)
  3. Your container proceeds to VICT's yard to be exported.

Note: VICT will charge for this service.  See the next point.

 

Who pays to use the WAT method?

VICT will charge the transport company - that is, the one who the VBS booking belongs to.  The charge will be present on the VBS invoice.  Here's how:

  1. For exports using the WAT method: VICT will charge a weighing fee
  2. For exports using the SM1 and SM2 methods: VICT will still weigh your container and charge if a significant difference in weight is recorded.  

Contact VICT for more information about pricing. 


 

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