BIFA, the British International Freight Association has introduced a new set of Standard Trading Conditions to be applied by its members from 1st October. The IIFA, Irish International Freight Association is completing a review of its own Standard Trading Conditions which are applied by its member Freight Forwarders in Ireland. The revised conditions are likely to mirror very closely those developed by BIFA.
In the BIFA revision one significant addition has been their extension to take account of the SOLAS rules relating to verified gross mass (VGM) requirements. The revised terms provide a warranty from the customer that they are giving an accurate and actual verified gross mass of any container packed with packages and cargo items. This means that if the Member is legally responsible for provision of this information to the carrier, then it is able to pursue the customer, if the mass is not accurate, under the indemnity given for any losses incurred as a result.
Clause 28, which covers the jurisdiction of any claim, has been amended so that any member can choose arbitration rather than litigation in order to deal with any dispute they may have with their customer. This improves the ability for members to pursue their customers in jurisdictions that may not give effect to an English law and jurisdiction clause in favour of English Courts, or may not have any reciprocal agreement in force with the United Kingdom regarding the enforcement of judgments.
Slight changes to the document include outdated wording being revised as well as the preamble and definitions being made tighter to reflect the new EU regulation number following the introduction of the Union Customs Code.
Clearly, the terms and conditions under which cargo is being carried are of vital importance to the exporter and the IEA will keep a watching brief on developments both in Ireland and elsewhere particularly in a Brexit context.
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