Large fine for shippers with Hapag-Lloyd if caught with misdeclared hazardous cargo

Germany-based container liner Hapag Lloyd is to slap fines of $15,000 per container on shippers with misdeclared hazardous cargo. The new fines system begins on September 15th.

Hapag-Lloyd said in a note to customers 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”.

Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), part of China-based Cosco, also revealed plans on Tuesday to reduce levels of misdeclared hazardous cargo.

OOCL told customers that “we are aware that there had been an increasing number of marine incidents being reported in 2019, many of which were suspected of potentially carrying un-declared and/or misdeclared hazardous cargo”. It said that “to ensure safety compliance on shore and at sea is met, OOCL will strengthen its Dangerous Cargo acceptance and container inspection policy by imposing additional verification before loading through selective or random inspections on dangerous goods and potential dangerous goods cargo.”

Any inconsistencies between the declared cargo in the documents and what was physically inside the container would result in a Hazardous Cargo Misdeclaration Fee. The container could also be removed from service and the cargo might be put on hold.

Hapag-Lloyd suffered a high profile fire on the Yantian Express on January 3rd while it was en route from Colombo to Halifax via the Suez Canal. It had to divert south to Freeport, only returning to Nova Scotia with its undamaged cargo several months later.