Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) highlighted a range of cargo declaration issues at Europe’s top conference for shippers and freight forwarders recently.
“We continue to advocate for more transparency and detail in cargo declarations, in order to minimise risks to ship operators and protect our customers’ interests,” Mr Laurent Audaz, Head of P&I Insurance, Legal and Claims for MSC, said at the Journal of Commerce Container Trade Europe conference in Hamburg, Germany.
Speaking on a panel about tackling the movement of counterfeit goods, Mr Audaz said that Customs and other enforcement authorities need more resources in order to lead that fight successfully. Shipping lines and logistics companies have a supportive role to play in terms of sharing knowledge and experience, he said.
The international trade in fake goods amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars a year. It undermines the revenues of some of the world’s top consumer brands and wipes out millions of legitimate jobs, it was pointed out.
MSC has installed best-practice measures such as detailed bills of lading and stringent KYC (know-your-customer) processes and is a regular participant in initiatives to raise awareness on the issue, including Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) and STOP PIRACY.
Mr Audaz widened the debate to other major issues around inaccurate and false cargo declarations, mentioning ship accidents and fires and the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking.
MSC was a leading proponent of the 2016 VGM safety standard on cargo weight disclosures and has also signed the Buckingham Palace Declaration, a commitment to tackle the illicit transportation of wildlife.
In recent years, shipping lines have suffered from incidents at sea which caused vessel damage and even losses of seafarers’ lives as a result of mis-declared cargo, said a release.
“Whether we’re discussing what to do about counterfeiting, smuggling, or accidents at sea, the shadow of mis-declared cargo is always present in the background. We all need to engage together on these issues and unite with governments to discuss the problems,” Mr Audaz said.