Maersk takes a welcome step – adds mandatory customer declaration to booking

customer declarationWe have seen recently that container shipping lines are getting tough with regards to customer declaration or misdeclaration of dangerous goods..

It seems that the lines are really serious about containing these problems which is obviously going to benefit them and global trade..

Maersk Line seems to be on track for this.. They have advised that as of the 8th August they will be adding a new customer declaration checkbox which needs to be ticked when placing a booking on their website..

Maersk advised that this change in the booking system is being made as part of their continued efforts to increase safety throughout the Dangerous Goods handling process..

When placing a booking on the Maersk Line website, customers will come across a pop up check box with a customer declaration which they must accept in order to proceed..

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The check box with text as below is basically reminding you to ensure that

  • You have declared your cargo correctly
  • You commit to stuffing your cargo safely in the containers
  • You are aware we might open and inspect your containers

As per Maersk, these declarations do not add anything to what is already specified in their terms for carriage and merely reminds the shipper that it is their responsibility to correctly declare and pack the container..

The pop-up window comes with the following text when the booking is placed..

Dry Bookings:

Without prejudice to all the Carrier’s rights under the terms for carriage, I confirm as Shipper (or on behalf of and with full authority from the Shipper) that:

  • The Goods in this booking are NOT classified as Dangerous Goods as defined and/or classified in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code 2016 including any amendments thereto and as may be updated from time to time.
  • The Goods are safe for carriage by sea and packed and loaded in accordance with the Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units 2014 including any amendments thereto and as may be updated from time to time.
  • I understand that the Carrier is entitled to open and/or scan any package or Container at any time and to inspect the contents.

DG Bookings:

Without prejudice to all the Carrier’s rights under the terms for carriage, I confirm as Shipper (or on behalf of and with full authority from the Shipper) that:

  • The Goods in this booking are declared correctly in accordance with the requirements, definitions and/or classifications in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code 2016 including any amendments thereto and as may be updated from time to time.
  • The Goods are safe for carriage by sea and packed and loaded in accordance with the Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units 2014 including any amendments thereto and as may be updated from time to time.
  • I understand that the Carrier is entitled to open and/or scan any package or Container at any time and to inspect the contents.

As we have seen, recently Hapag Lloyd announced $50,000 per container misdeclaration fee, Evergreen announced $35,000 per container misdeclaration..

While these monetary impositions may discourage or stop misdeclaration (hopefully), the above initiative is at least a start and will create a level of awareness for customers before they complete the booking and commit to it..

Apart from the above, if we also add inspection of all hazardous cargoes just like SOLAS VGM we might have a solution..

2 thoughts on “Maersk takes a welcome step – adds mandatory customer declaration to booking”

  1. Shipping Lines must tighten the regulatory framework surrounding cargo declarations with the scope of fully passing on liability to shippers in case of misdeclared DG cargo. In the case of DG cargo, Lines must join together to cover every shipment with a bank guarantee or a marine insurance from shipper to protect the carrier in the event of penalties / damages arising from misdeclration or inadequate packing of dangerous goods.

    Reply
  2. Good to hear that the carriers are enforcing the rules. I was in the forwarding industries for 40 years and this subject has always been a problem. Shippers do not like to declare the hazardous materials even thought they do declare it for land transportation. Hope that the forwarders also set up a fine (monetary) for not declaring since the forwarder is the one that will get blame at first.

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