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Since July 1st 2016, every packed container to be loaded on board of a SOLAS ship needs to have its Verified Gross Mass determined. Determining the weight can be done through Method 1 (weighing the packed container using calibrated and certified weighing equipment) or through Method 2 (calculation: container tare weight + weight of the goods; this requires a special permission).
The shipper provides this information to the ship's agent. The agent then passes it on to the carrier, because the carrier needs to balance the vessel, and to the terminal, because the terminal is not allowed to load the container otherwise. Several other parties could also benefit from having the weight in their digital files, e.g. CMR documents.
It its first version, the VGM API lets you look up the "Method 1" VGM of a container from the moment it is available. In a next phase, the API will also support VGM's obtained through Method 2.
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