MAJ prepares for new VGM weight container rule.

1 July, 16

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has developed guidelines that it has presented to major players in the industry to make sure the country is prepared for the new weight container rule that comes into effect from July.

The Authority has taken steps to assist the country with the implementation of the new Safety  of Life at Sea (SOLAS)  Convention rule that will require shippers to verify the weight of their cargo or run the risk of their containers not being shipped.

Rear Admiral Peter Brady, Director General of the MAJ and Bert Smith, Director of Legal Affairs at the MAJ have been conducting a series of seminars to ensure that the major players in the industry in Jamaica are prepared for the changes.

Rear Admiral Peter Brady said:

“The shipping industry is anticipating the implementation of the rule and all players in the industry are eager for information and to ensure they are making all necessary steps to become compliant. The seminars were well conducted and attended, and stakeholders welcomed the opportunity to give their feedback and to have the country’s maritime administration present to address questions.”

The guidelines that have been published by the MAJ state that:


  • The MAJ will maintain a list of approved weighing scales; approve the quality management procedures for determining the verification of the gross mass (VGM) as stipulated in the SOLAS convention; and inspect ships for compliance
  • Where a packed export container arrives at the terminal without evidence that the gross mass of the container has been obtained, that packed container shall not be loaded onboard a SOLAS-compliant vessel.
  • Re-verification is not required for containers in transshipment;
  • There will be zero tolerance for improper recording of mis-declarations. These mis-declarations of the gross mass of a container should be corrected by the shipper as soon as is practicable.


The guidelines also highlight that the shipper is responsible for obtaining and documenting the VGM of a packed container for export.

Shippers can adopt one of two methods when verifying the VGM of a packed container. They can either weigh the packed container by using the approved weighing scale; or by weighing all packages and cargo items and adding the empty weight of the container to the sum of the single mass, using a method approved by the MAJ.

The shipper must then complete and submit the shipping document declaring the gross mass of the VGM of the container, along with a declaration stating which method was used in the VGM.

The MAJ is satisfied with the preparations taking place in the shipping industry, with port terminal and logistics provider Kingston Wharves Limited just announcing a new certified service to provide certified gross mass for all full container load shipments exported from its terminal.

The full set of guidelines are available to view at the MAJ ‘s website


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