Container Weight FAQ
Q: It is possible for a freight forwarder to act as a principal, without being named as ‘shipper’ on the maritime carrier’s bill of lading; does this absolve the freight forwarder from the legal responsibility to provide VGM?
A: It is recognized that there are innumerable permutations for the contracts between the parties. The SOLAS VGM amendment and guidelines state that the ‘shipper’ for these purposes is the entity shown as such on the maritime carrier’s bill of lading. In all circumstances, that entity needs to put in place a mechanism by which VGM is obtained and provided to the carrier and the terminal, regardless of whether it is relying on third party providers for any part of the supply chain services. Where a freight forwarder is involved in any capacity, it is important that the freight forwarder thoroughly understands the obligations of these (and other) regulatory requirements and communicates appropriately to the client to ensure compliance.