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Tropical Shipping Guidelines for the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) for Halifax, Nova Scotia

The amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) went into effect globally on July 1, 2016.   The amendments require that Shippers have the responsibility for obtaining and providing the Verified Gross Mass (VGM) of containers before those containers can be loaded aboard a vessel. 

The VGM consists of the following:  cargo weight including packaging; all dunnage in the container for blocking/bracing of the cargo; and the tare weight of the container as noted on the door of the equipment. 

The VGM for loaded containers may be determined by one of two methods:

  1. Weigh the entire container with cargo loaded using calibrated and certified equipment.
  2. Weigh all packages and cargo items, including pallets, dunnage and other securing material to be packed in the container and add the tare mass of the container to the sum of the single masses, using a certified method approved by the authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.

Our goal is to make this new compliance easy for you.

As a new service for cargo exported from Hailfax, Nova Scotia, we will weigh your containers with calibrated and certified equipment for a fee of $225.00 USD, effective February 5, 2017. This will ensure a quick and accurate VGM weight and will eliminate any potential delays for shipping. 

To take advantage of our new service, provide Tropical Shipping with the Canada VGM Letter of Authorization.

Find our VGM forms on our website, Shipping Guidelines, Forms, SOLAS:   In the SOLAS section you will find the following:  1) Shipper’s Letter of Instruction which includes a VGM Certification statement, 2) VGM Letter of Authorization, whereby you authorize Tropical Shipping to weigh your containers to obtain the VGM, and 3) the Shipper’s VGM Certification form in which shippers provide Tropical with the VGM of your shipments.

If Tropical does not provide this service, the cut off time for your VGM documents will be the same as that for all of your other documents.  Please keep in mind that you are responsible for ensuring we have your documents before your cargo can load and sail.   A delay in receiving your documents or failure to provide to us could cause a delay in the sailing of your cargo.  Whenever you provide the VGM to us, you may send the document via your normal communications with our Documentation team or you may give them to your truck driver who can present them at our port gate.

Tropical Shipping values the close relationships we have built with our customers throughout our more than 50-year history. Thank you for choosing us as your carrier of choice. For further information, please contact your local Sales Representative or the U.S. Customer Service Team at 800-638-TROP (8767) or 561-881-3999 or the Canadian Customer Service Team at (506) 644-6300 or toll free from Canada at (866) 767-6576.

Complete contact listings, including telephone and fax numbers and email address information can be found 24/7/365 on our website on the Bookings and Customer Service page – found in the Contact area of our website,