The Key to Automating SOLAS Verified Gross Mass

April 14, 2016

VGM Regulations

Why does the industry want to add more complexity to operations than it needs? Sure, SOLAS and VGM are important. But do we need to create new manual processes or additional work? Carriers must withhold the capability to load a verified container weight (VCW or VGM) or VERMAS message into their systems. Just as important the forwarder, shipper or terminal operator require the ability to create such a record or message and, of course, send it.

Now we need to think about this holistically, and the impact on everyone involved. At the recent TPM conference in Long Beach, CA, one terminal operator indicated that they weighted every container at gate in. This process, although great, captures the container weight but needs to be adjusted for the tractor-trailer. It may not be ideal for all terminal operators, and I suggest if you remove this step it could increase overall efficiencies. But it is a viable method to capture the verified gross mass (VGM).

While working for Unilever, we weighed every packed and closed container before it was loaded onto a trailer. Often times, the shippers knew the exact weight of products that went into the container, albeit blown in/silo filled bulk goods or finished packaged goods.

It is also true that in the above cases, weight was often captured in the booking, reservation, shipping instructions, bill of lading, or a gate in or out. The trick now, is to automatically authenticate and verify that weight, then output it automatically, depending on the stage that it was captured, to the parties in need. For example, if the shipper verifies it, it can be sent to the forwarder, terminal operator and carrier electronically in a format that can be automatically received in their systems without any manual intervention. Above all, the SOLAS VGM requirements can now be met in all countries, even those that may require signatures, but it can be done in a speedy and efficient manner.

For the carriers, they can receive notification of Verified Gross Mass in a format that meets their needs; XML or EDI VERMAS 0.5,1.1. As well as new messages including VGM, like BAPLIE 2.2,3.1 and others.

Youredi can provide such a platform. One that is fully automated, meets the requirements of a verified gross mass under SOLAS, and can output the VGM data in a proprietary format of the receiving party. This as mentioned above could be XML, VERMAS 0.4,0.5,1.1, BAPLIE or even as simple as a flat-file.

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