International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) has called for urgent dialogue with major carriers in the wake of recent moves by shipping lines to impose penalties on shippers that mis-declare cargoes.
Another question on which FIATA is seeking clarity is whether the fines apply solely to the misdeclaration of dangerous goods or any instance in which goods are misdeclared.
FIATA noted in an Aug. 6 news release that, according to shipping lines, the fines are being levied “in an attempt to improve safety and reduce delays whereby up to a quarter of all serious incidents on board container ships are attributable to misdeclared cargo as referenced by the Cargo Incident Notification System initiative.”
Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM and OOCL have announced plans to impose penalties on shippers.
Hapag-Lloyd and South Korean carrier HMM have said they will implement a $15,000-per-container penalty for the misdeclaration of cargo prior to shipment of cargoes emanating from China, effective Sept. 15.
Hong Kong-based OOCL and Maersk also plan to impose fines of undisclosed amounts to combat mislabeling.
“Failure to properly offer and declare hazardous cargoes prior to shipment is a violation of hazardous material regulations. Such violations may be subject to monetary fines and/or criminal prosecution under applicable law,” Hapag-Lloyd announced in a notice to customers.
Nils Haupt, a spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd, told FreightWaves that the fines are being levied only against Chinese shippers as those shippers are flagrant violators in misidentifying cargoes, although cargoes emanating from West Africa also are under constant scrutiny by the carrier.
Haupt noted that he is unaware of any formal challenge issued as of yet by FIATA against the levies.