Effective July 1, 2016

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) published an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) that requires shippers to verify and provide to the ocean carrier a “Verified Gross Mass” (VGM) for every container moving in international transport, as specified below.


Shipments that DO NOT require VGM

The SOLAS Amendment VGM requirement does not apply to the following:

  • Shipments solely between two U.S. ports, including:
    • Hawaii
    • Alaska
    • Guam
    • Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas
  • International shipments originating at U.S. ports to destinations with transshipment inside the U.S. or U.S. territory, including:
    • Federated States of Micronesia
    • Republic of the Marshall Islands
    • Republic of Palau

All shipments not subject to the VGM requirement will continue to be transported under Matson’s current practices with no change in procedures on/after July 1, 2016.


Shipments that DO require VGM

The SOLAS Amendment VGM requirement DOES apply to the following types of shipments:

  • All shipments originating outside the US and US territories
  • Matson will require VGM for all international shipments originating at U.S. ports to destinations outside the U.S. with transshipment at ports that have not declared non-requirement of VGM



For all shipments that do require VGM, the SOLAS Amendment requires VGM to be determined by one of two methods:

Method 1 – Weighing the container after it has been packed.


Method 2 – Weighing all contents of the container and adding those weights to the tare weight indicated on the door of the container.

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Easy online compliance – Matson VGM Portal

For international shipments that require the shipper’s VGM, Matson has created an online portal to enable compliance. Matson’s VGM Portal allows a shipper’s duly authorized representative(s) to easily enter and certify the required VGM information for each container.Matson’s local offices will also accept VGM submissions via email and fax.

Portal User Instructions

Open Matson VGM Portal

Matson reminds all shippers and others in the domestic and international supply chain of their critical role in ensuring the safety of our operations by adhering to the relevant provisions of Matson’s bill of lading and sea waybill. These provisions detail a shipper’s warranties and obligations with respect to the accuracy and completeness of the information provided to Matson regarding containers and their contents packed by a shipper or its agents and the weight of each container.

Links to Resources

Coast Guard Maritime Commons: 3/2/2016: “SOLAS amendments to container weight requirements – FAQs” Click here

Coast Guard Maritime Commons: 4/28/2016: “Additional information on Coast Guard determinations about container weight requirements, verified gross mass” Click here