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Verified Gross Mass (VGM)

Exact mass – more safety

Our strengths – your benefits

Convenient solutions

Hamburg Süd offers several different options for communicating the VGM.

Clear information

From mandatory information to cutoffs, you can learn the most important requirements directly from us.

Personal support

Your on-site Hamburg Süd office will answer all of your questions about VGM.


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) initiated a regulation that requires shippers to indicate the VGM (Verified Gross Mass) of every container they transport. This was intended to improve the safety of everyone on board, because major differences in the communicated and actual container mass had led to several serious accidents in the past.

Shippers are responsible for calculating the VGM of their cargo and communicating it to us. Even if they engage third parties to calculate the VGM, the SOLAS articles stipulate that the responsibility for correct calculation and communication remains with the shipper. This means that the shipper is liable for all of the costs or damages incurred for any absent or inaccurate VGM.

Important note: Hamburg Süd is required by law to refuse to load any container without the VGM on file.

We’ve established the following processes to support you as much as we can:

  • We will give you plenty of notice when the VGM for your ship is missing.
  • We will confirm receipt of your shipment’s VGM.
  • You can communicate the VGM to us free of charge through our eCommerce portal .
  • VGM cutoffs indicate the deadline by which we must have the VGM on file. This will vary depending on the port and terminal, which are indicated in the booking confirmation.
  • We will notify you if there is any objection to the communicated VGM, for example if any mandatory information is missing or the indicated mass is implausible (below the container’s tare mass or above the maximum permissible container gross mass).

There are two ways to determine the VGM. No matter which is chosen, the law requires that an authorized person representing the shipper sign the weigh slip (either electronically, or by hand in block capitals).

  • Weigh the container after packing and sealing
  • Weigh the individual elements (cargo + packaging + stowage and security materials + container tare mass) and add them together

The scale, weighing platform, or hoist has to meet the prevailing precision standards and requirements of the country in which it is being used.

Important note: The VGM is not the same as the posted weight (only an approximation) or the weight in the bill of lading (solely the load weight). The VGM includes the weight of the load, the weight of all stowage and securing materials, and the container’s tare weight.

We offer three options for notifying us of the VGM:

  • Send it using our eCommerce portal
  • Send it using a partner portal (like INTTRA, GTnexus, CargoSmart, or DBH) via VERMAS EDI
  • Contact us to set up a bilateral EDI link

The mandatory information includes the VGM, the booking number, the container number, the dimensions, and the name of the authorized person – representing the shipper – who has signed the weigh slip.
We have summarized more information about communicating the VGM here (PDF, 199 kB) .

The container tare mass is indicated on the CSC sticker on the door of each container. You can retrieve the container tare mass on our eCommerce portal by entering the container or booking number.

Here you can download an overview with the most important information relating to the VGM as a PDF document.

VGM – frequently asked questions (PDF, 68 kB)

Do you have any further questions?

Feel free to contact us. Our service representatives in our regional offices are happy to help you.