Shippers to face financial penalties for misdeclared goods

An increase in incidents at sea, suspected to have been caused by the misdeclaration of goods, has prompted a number of shipping lines to introduce fines for shipments that are wrongly declared.

Evergreen has told clients that each instance of “concealing, omitting or misdeclaring” dangerous cargo will result in fines of $35,000 per container whilst Hapag-Lloyd have announced that they will implement fines of $15,000 per container, effective from 15 September 2019.

The advisory from Hapag-Lloyd stated that “Failure to properly offer and declare hazardous cargoes prior to shipment is a violation of the Hazardous Material Regulations. Such violations may be subject to monetary fines and/or criminal prosecution under applicable law.”

Adding that “To ensure the safety of our crew, ships and other cargo onboard, Hapag-Lloyd holds the Shipper liable and responsible for all costs and consequences related to violations, fines, damages, incidents, claims and corrective measures resulting from cases of undeclared or misdeclared cargoes.”

HMM has also announced that it will be introducing a $15,000 per box charge while OOCL and Maersk have confirmed that they too will implement fines for misdeclared goods, though have not specified how much they will be charging.

The transportation of dangerous goods is regulated in order to prevent as far as possible, accidents involving people or property, damage to the environment, to the means of transport employed or to other goods being transported, yet, according to the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS), nearly 25% of all serious incidents onboard containerships are attributable to misdeclared cargo.