Container Weight FAQ
Q: What records are required and for how long should they be retained?
A: The SOLAS regulations require simply the VGM value (clearly stated as such) and a signature on the VGM document. There may be national requirements for the content of this document, but additional data elements required by carriers would, as a minimum, include the container number, the booking number, the name of the third party submitting the document (if applicable), name of the shipper, and the date on which the VGM is obtained.
The signed VGM document may be provided electronically in which case the signature may be an electronic signature or may be replaced by the name in capitals of the person authorized by the shipper to sign the VGM shipping document. Certain jurisdictions may accept a corporate signature.
The commercial parties should retain VGM evidence (which may include underlying weight certificates and other documentation) at least until the conclusion of the carriage by sea. Retention for a longer period may also be advisable. There may be national regulations in place that should be taken into consideration.