Meet SOLAS Container Weight Mandates


Truck-Weight-limits-article-Judy-PiercyEffective July 1, 2016, the SOLAS container weight verification amendment goes into effect.

The container weight mandate from the International Maritime Organization under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention comes after misdeclared weights contributed to maritime casualties.

As a shipper, what are you required to do?

Provide a document, paper or electronic, signed by the shipper to the shipping line and terminal declaring the shipper verified the weight and it was weighed properly. 

Any shipping container leaving from any port in the world must be accompanied by a shipping document signed either electronically or in hard copy by the shipper on the bill of lading listing the verified gross mass of a container in order to be loaded onto a ship. There are two methods that can be used to determine the container weight. 

Weight Measurement 1 = Total weight - truck, fuel

Take a loaded container over a weighbridge, subtract the weight of the truck, chassis, and fuel to get the weight of the packed container

Weight Measurement 2 = Goods + packing + container

Weigh each item going into the box. Include its packaging, palleting, dunnage and other packing and securing materials. Add that sum to the wedight of the container to find the weight of the packed container. 

Existing Laws were often ineffective

The existing laws were ammended in May of 2014 and adpoted by the Maritime Safety Committee in November 2014.

The weighing must be done on certified measurement scales prior to loading on a vessel. Container vessels do not have the capability to weigh the containers that are loaded onto them. Proper and safe vessel stowage planning depends on accurate container weights before the loading process begins. 

To learn more about meeting shipper, carrier and 3PL requirements and container weight verfication, contact Hawthorne Global for guidance on the lastest updates and enforcements to these shipping regulations. 


Portions of this article first appeared on

Category: logistics