Archives For shipping line

Hamburg Sud_1

Durban-based Hamburg Süd is the first shipping line – and the first South African Revenue Service (Sars) client – to be granted exemption from the requirement to submit paper manifests to local customs branches, thus becoming the first fully electronic cargo reporter.

While the electronic reporting of pre-arrival manifests to Sars has been a requirement since August 2009, shipping lines are, to date, still required to present pre- and post-arrival paper manifests to local customs branches in order to account for cargo. This was also because the data accuracy of electronic submissions varied significantly between different reporters.

Sars’ implementation of the new Manifest Processing (MPR) system in June 2016, provided industry with the mechanism to also report acquittal manifests electronically. Additionally, the system is able to match customs clearances to their corresponding cargo reports (manifests) in order to identify instances of non-reporting.

Three months after MPR was introduced, the facility for full paperless cargo reporting was made available to shipping lines and airlines who submit both pre-arrival and post-arrival manifests to Sars electronically; submit complete sets of manifests without any omissions; achieve a reporting data accuracy rate of 90% or higher in respect of both their pre-arrival and acquittal manifests reported for each of the three months preceding any application for exemption from paper reporting requirements; and can maintain that level consistently.

A significant benefit to carriers reporting electronically is the cost-saving of hundreds of thousands of rands spent per year in the paper and administrative costs associated with submitting paper manifests to Sars offices. The process is now more efficient allowing for improved risk management, security and confidentiality.

“Hamburg Süd’s core business strategy is to deliver a premium service to our customer, and to achieve this, compliance is a core driver. SARS paperless reporting is in line with our compliance and sustainability strategy,” said Jose Jardim, general manager of Hamburg Süd South Africa.

For Customs, the mandatory submission of cargo reports forms a significant part of the new Customs Control Act (CCA) in order to secure and facilitate the international supply chain.

With the impending implementation of Reporting of Conveyances and Goods (RCG) under the CCA – targeted for 2018 – carriers of internal goods in the sea and air modalities are urged to follow Hamburg Süd’s example and ensure that they become compliant in good time so that they can enjoy a smooth transition to the new legal dispensation.

Paperless cargo reporting would bring an end to one of the last remaining paper-based processes in customs while further contributing to the expedited processing of legitimate trade through an enhanced and integrated risk management environment.

According to a Sars spokesman technical stakeholder sessions to implement the reporting requirements introduced by the new Customs Control Act are due to commence soon and carriers and other supply chain cargo reporters are urged to attend in order to ensure they adapt their systems in good time.

Source: adapted from FTW Online, Venter. L, “German shipping line first Sars client to become fully electronic reporter”, September 14, 2017.

Advertisements

BIMCO E-Bill of LadingPaper bills of lading have been used throughout the world to document and effect international trade for centuries. Yet whilst the world has become increasingly digitalised the paper bill of lading has, on the whole, remained a constant feature of global trade. Its continued use is mainly due to its combination of three legal characteristics that it has developed over time: (i) it is a receipt of the goods carried; (ii) it provides evidence of the terms of the contract of carriage; and (iii) it is a document of title to the goods. It is these characteristics that have, until relatively recently, foiled attempts to replace the paper bill of lading with an electronic equivalent. However, with the inclusion of an electronic bills of lading clause in BIMCO’s NYPE 2015 time charter form, as well as the International Group of P&I Clubs’ approval of the coverage of three electronic trading systems, the dominance of the paper bill of lading may well be coming to an end.

Reed Smith LLP Ship Law blog posts an interesting article in regard to change in law and the impact of e-commerce on bills of lading.

Issues with the paper system
Whilst the paper bill of lading has been used for centuries it is not without its faults, the principal problems being that:

  • Carriers are obliged to discharge the goods carried on production of an original bill of lading: this is particularly problematic today given both the speed of transport and the fact that the cargo may be sold multiple times during carriage. As a result of this the bill of lading is often not delivered to the consignee in time, and the carrier is often required to accept a letter of indemnity. This indemnity does not, however, remove the carriers’ liability under the bill of lading and creates an additional administrative burden and cost to the trade.
  • The paper system is hugely expensive (such cost is estimated to be between 5 – 10% of the value of the goods carried each year).
  • A paper bill of lading may be forged with relative ease and carriers are liable for misdelivery against a forged bill of lading.

Benefits of an electric bill
The electronic bill of lading or e-bill, in theory, addresses many of the flaws of the paper system, bringing with it a number of advantages:

  • It can be sent around the world instantaneously, hugely lowering the administrative burden of trade (especially where cargo is subject to multiple transfers of ownership during carriage).
  • Any amendments or corrections required can be made far more efficiently and cost effectively.
  • Electronic payment systems, and related advances in security, make an electronic system considerably more secure than its paper equivalent. This is obviously subject to cyber issues.

These benefits will cut the administrative costs of trade significantly and reduce, if not eradicate, situations where carriers discharge their cargo against letters of indemnity.

So why so slow on the uptake?
One of the main reasons the widespread use of the e-bill has been slow to proliferate stems from the fact that it is not treated in the same manner, legally, as its paper equivalent. Significantly:

  • A paper bill of lading is a document of title, enabling it to be negotiated and transferred as possession of the bill is evidence of title to the goods. This is not automatically the case at law with an e-bill.
  • The Hague Rules / Hague Visby Rules (HR / HVR) apply to a contract of carriage by reference to the bill of lading, or similar document of title, and it has been less clear whether they would apply to any electronic trading system used. The solution developed to these legal obstacles is essentially a multiparty contract. This takes the form of a set of rules to which users of an electronic trading system are all required to subscribe to use that system. Such rules then set out the specific form of electronic trading documentation to be used and that the consequences of using such documentation shall mirror the position at law as if they were paper bills of lading.

This, however, means that electronic trading systems such as BOLERO, which has been in existence since the 1990s, are only able to function between their members (i.e. those that have agreed to the uniform set of rules and systems that will govern their transactions). Where a member of an electronic trading system enters into a transaction with a non-member, the electronic system cannot be utilised and a paper bill of lading is issued. This feature has limited their growth, as electronic trading systems are only really effective once they have a large number of members, but are not cost-effective for traders to join until they have a large number of members.

The present situation
The benefits of electronic trading systems are particularly tangible to container carriers (as there is often a separate bill of lading for each container carried) and as such have been utilised by liner companies before wider adoption in the industry. However, the efficiencies of electronic trading systems are not confined to the container industry alone and with members of the largest trading companies, trade finance banks, mining companies and oil majors using such systems, it is clear that they are becoming increasingly prevalent in the shipping industry as a whole.

The growth of the use of electronic trading systems in the wider shipping industry is something that BIMCO, by including an e-bills clause in its latest iteration of the NYPE form, has also recognised. In sum the new clause provides that:

  • use of an electronic trading system is at charterers’ option;
  • owners shall subscribe to the system elected by charterers, provided such a system is approved by the International Group of P&I Clubs;
  • charterers shall pay any fees incurred by owners in subscribing to such elected system; and
  • charterers shall indemnify owners for any liabilities incurred arising from the use of the elected system, so long as such liability does not arise from owners’ negligence.

The International Group of P&I Clubs have now ‘approved’ three electronic trading systems (BOLERO, essDOCS and E-title). An ‘approved’ system is one that is found to replicate the legal characteristics of a paper bill (namely (i) as a receipt; (ii) a document of title; and (iii) a contract of carriage which incorporates the HR / HVR). This means that the International Group of P&I Clubs will provide cover for any liabilities arising under carriage covered by these three electronic trading systems (or any such other subsequently ‘approved’ system), provided that such liability would also have arisen under a paper bill. However, members should be advised that risks connected with the use of a non-approved electronic trading system will not be covered.

The use of an electronic trading system does, however, lead to other risks from things such as hacking, systems collapse, e-theft and viruses, none of which are traditionally covered by P&I clubs and would need to be insured separately. In this regard, essDOCS (which is now used throughout 71 countries by over 3,300 companies) has insurance cover of up to USD $20 million per electronic bill of lading for “eRisks” resulting from an electronic crime or electronic system failure.

With the rise in usage of electronic trading systems, the recent judgment in Glencore v MSC (albeit currently under appeal) provides a timely reminder that the release of cargo should only be made in accordance with the contract evidenced by the bill of lading, even where an electronic release system for cargo is being operated. In this instance cargo was released on presentation of a PIN, despite no provisions for this in the bill of lading, two of the released consignments of cargo were misappropriated and the carrier was held liable.

The future?
With the International Group of P&I Clubs’ approval of three electronic systems, the inclusion of an electronic bills of lading clause in BIMCO’s latest NYPE form and the proliferation of the use of electronic trading systems throughout the wider shipping industry, it is clear that the use of electronic trading systems is increasing. Whilst there is no doubt that we can expect teething problems as the industry continues to adapt to such electronic trading systems, and the cyber risks they may bring, it seems that the efficiencies are too great to be ignore. Source: Ship Law log / ReedSmith

Click Picture for full report at porttechnology.org [Port Technology International – Container weighing device]

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is expected to make the weighing of sea containers mandatory. The purpose is to make the entire container supply chain safer. This regulation is expected to be issued through the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) as a result of a number of accidents involving container losses and container stack collapses. The existing SOLAS regulation already obliges shippers to declare the correct container weights, but this is not always done. The new regulation is likely to require specifically that the container is actually weighed or calculated by reference to the contents, packing and securing materials and the tare weight of the container itself. Importantly, however, the regulation is anticipated to forbid the loading of containers unless the verified gross mass is available to the terminal and the ship’s master.

Practically speaking this means that the shipping lines may require terminals to verify container weights prior to being loaded onto their ships. There will, however, be a cost to it which the shipping lines are likely to pass on to their shippers. But besides added safety, there is another important aspect: optimising ship stowage which should reduce fuel consumption for the shipping lines. A ship is more stable at sea and consumes less fuel when the center of gravity is low and if the cargo is optimally distributed. Therefore, it is in the interest of the shipping lines to know the exact weights. Arguably, there are multiple aspects which determine fuel consumption of a ship, and some may be more important than stowage, but this is nevertheless a factor.

Determining container weights and related costs

First of all, to weigh a container and to use the load information to update the stowage plan, containers need to be weighed preferably at the completion of packing. Clearly, weighing export containers needs to be done sufficiently in advance for the stowage plan to be optimised. If the actual weight is not determined at the completion of packing, the port is in a prime position to provide this service or, indeed, to verify the documented weight. For containers that arrive at the port by road, rail or river an obvious ‘check point’ is during the inward process. Weighing with the quay side crane is too late, since the container position on the ship is determined well before loading.

Weights of transshipped containers should be verified at the original port of loading, but there will always be situations where this has not been physically possible. In that event, it can be said with certainty that every container, whether exported or transshipped, will pass through the stacking yard. It is therefore argued that equipping the stacking cranes with weighing systems best caters for all circumstances. Operators in those countries that require imported containers to be weighed may consider weighing with quay side cranes as well.

What does it cost to weigh a container? Let’s base the calculation on the capacity of a quay side crane which can typically load 100,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) per year. Let’s also assume there are three rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTG) or rail-mounted gantry cranes (RMGs) required per quay side crane. Let’s further assume a weighing system costs US$20,000 per stacking crane and it is amortised over three years. The cost per year to weigh 100,000 TEU is therefore US$0,20 per TEU. In addition to the capital expenditure for the weighing equipment, the terminal will incur some integration costs plus ongoing maintenance and administration costs, so let’s double this amount to US$0,40 per TEU. Weighing by the stacking cranes during the handling of the containers is also more economical than weighing with weigh bridges which very often involve manual intervention, when trucks are carrying two 20 foot containers which need to be individually weighed. Weighing in the stacking yard is therefore the fastest, most economical and non-disruptive way to the operation. Some terminals have calculated that they could offer their weighing services for US$1 per TEU and earn a profit with it. Continue Reading…

IMG_39671-210x140Worldcargo news.com reports that a recent truck weighing deal in the UK provides food for thought in the run-up to IMO DSC/18 in September 2013.

Central Weighing, part of Avery Weigh-Tronix, has supplied a cost-effective weighing solution to help Balfour Beatty avoid overloading on its fleet of 3000 light commercial vehicles and 1000 heavy commercial vehicles, which are located at numerous and very often temporary sites across the UK.

Balfour Beatty operates a large and diverse fleet of commercial vehicles in the UK ranging from small vans to 44t artics. The plant, tools, equipment and materials carried vary widely depending on the project or contract being serviced.

“With such a wide variety of loads being transported, it is essential that the vehicles can be weighed accurately and efficiently, to ensure safety and comply with road transport legislation,” stated Central Weighing. “Installing a weighbridge at each location was not financially feasible, so Central Weighing’s solution was implemented to supply 10 portable dynamic weighbridges.”

As discussed on numerous occasions in WorldCargo News, where the shipping line requires container weights to be verified by physical weighing of the container, the ideal location from an overall supply chain perspective is the shipper’s or export packer’s container stuffing point. This provides:

  • the earliest possible notice of discrepancy with the declared weight, and hence the most time for the ship planner to adjust the loading plan.
  • confirmation of legality for road shipment in terms of gross truck mass and axle loads. Inland transportation is outwith IMO’s remit, but this point is clearly very important in terms of road safety. It is not acceptable for shipping lines employing hauliers in a carrier haulage move to ignore it and focus exclusively on the integrity of their loading plans.

Of course, most shippers do not have container lifting equipment, but container chassis could easily be fitted with load cells measuring the weight and distribution as the container is stuffed at the loading dock, or the whole rig could be driven onto portable weighbridges/mats shortly after the container is loaded. If Balfour Beatty can do it, why can’t shipping lines or their contracted road hauliers?

If the truck is shown to be overloaded in terms of gross mass and/or individual axle loads, the container will have to be stripped and restuffed, leading to dispatch delays. Since gate “slot” times and reception “cut off” times are so tight, something has got to give. Don’t expect a truck with a three-hour window between departure from, say, Daventry and arrival in Felixstowe to make it in one hour!

Both container weighing and packing are being discussed in special workshops at next week’s TOC CSC Europe conference in Rotterdam, and these points need to be aired.

Sounds like the kind of discussion and development to be followed by Transport (including Port) and Customs authorities alike. Perhaps the MOL COMFORT tragedy will lend some importance (interest) to this debate.

Source: World Cargo News

confidentialAn interesting and pertinent issue has been raised in the social media area on the ‘confidentiality’ of carrier information submitted to Customs. In this particular regard it relates to the practice of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency. One blogger commented “It’s kind of ironic in the U.S. for example that importers/consignees are required to submit a request to customs to opt-in to keep manifest information confidential.”

CustomsNow, a direct filing solution for US traders relates “As a common practice, importers and consignees may submit a request to US Customs, pursuant to 19 CFR 103.31, to keep manifest information confidential.  Our previous blog post on this topic  includes several tips to ensure these requests result in the broadest degree of confidentiality.”

Recently, importers and consignees who have submitted confidentiality requests have complained to CBP that confidential shipping data — party/shipper/consignee name and address — for ocean freight have nevertheless been disclosed to the public.  After reviewing the matter, Customs has determined that “improper data entry” was the cause.  To avoid this, CBP advises in a recent CSMS publication, when filing e-Manifests in ACE, “the commercial party name fields must ONLY contain commercial party name data.”  Otherwise, “…the name of the party stored in the ACE database is corrupted because it includes address data. This inaccurate party name data fails the confidentiality edits resulting in confidential business information being shared publicly. This inadvertent disclosure is tied directly to the way in which data is transmitted by users.” Additional information can be found in CBP’s CSMS #13-000064.

In South Africa, and I’m sure a great many other countries too, one just has to accept that the Customs authorities will secure such information, because they say its safe. Read the link below – cause for concern.