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Following several high-profile incidents recently, such as the Yantian Express fire in January, several ocean carriers have announced introducing heavy fines for misdeclaring hazardous cargo.


Hapag-Lloyd have recently announced it would levy a US$15,000 fine for misdeclared hazardous cargo, and said it would hold the shipper liable for all costs and consequences related to violations, fines, damages, incidents, claims and corrective measures resulting from undeclared or misdeclared cargoes.

A statement from the company said it was in the overall interest of safe operation on-board vessels.

“Failure to properly offer and declare hazardous cargoes prior to shipment is a violation of the Hazardous Material Regulations,” the statement said.

“Such violations may be subject to monetary fines and/or criminal prosecution under applicable law.”


TT Club (international transport & logistics insurance company) has welcomed such initiatives. The international transport insurer said it had growing concerns about the lax cargo packing practices and erroneous, sometimes fraudulent, declaration of cargoes.

TT Club risk management director Peregrine Storrs-Fox said it was clear the shipper has primary responsibility to declare fully and honestly, so the carriers are able to take appropriate actions to achieve safe transport.

“Since this is not always the case, carriers have to put in place increasingly sophisticated and costly control mechanisms to ‘know their customers’, screen booking information and physically inspect shipments,” he said.

“Equally, carriers have the opportunity to review any barriers to accurate shipment declaration, including minimising any unnecessary restrictions and surcharges”.

“Penalising shippers where deficiencies are found should be applauded. Furthermore, government enforcement agencies are encouraged to take appropriate action under national or international regulations to deter poor practices further.”


Along with the “Chain of Responsibility” introduction, there is more responsibility being placed on Shippers & Importers to ensure the correct information is being declared for each shipment, whether it be by Sea or Air.

Please find the link for our Export document processing pack to assist shippers when completing the Export documentation, and SLI (Shippers Letter of Instruction) as follows S.A.L. Global Export Processing Requirements and Instructions

As always, we are here to help, and if there is any doubt, please do not hesitate to e-mail or call us for assistance – e-mail: or TEL: 1300 814 743.

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