Container & Cargo Weight Explained

Container & Cargo Weight Explained

From July 1st 2016 a new worldwide shipping procedure was implemented to ensure the safety of ocean going vessels at sea, this procedure is called SOLAS ( Safety of Life at Sea ), and is designed to provide shipping lines with an accurate measurement of the weight of each container loaded on-board.

Containers can be weighed by customers or at port to get a VGM (Verified Gross Mass), this is the weight the shipping lines would work on to determine the correct balance and loading of containers on-board their vessels.

The VGM however, is not to be confused with the weight that either a container is pay-loaded to be able to carry, or the UK Legal Road Limit, which is 44000 Kgs (44 Tons), which includes the cargo weight / empty container tare weight and tractor unit and trailer comprised.

The payload and are weight of a container is shown on the doors of all containers (as photo).


Please note that we have instances recently where containers have been found to be over-weight at the port of loading and port of transhipment and the shipping line has refused to ship these containers onwards without taking action to remove the excess weight. This is a very inconvenient and highly costly exercise and we recommend that shippers are absolutely sure that their cargo weight complies.

For more information please feel free to call us on +44 (0) 1274 580049 or email us at