Carriage of Goods’s Docs CoCoG - Request from BIMCO Documentary Committee for advice on North American Advance Cargo Declarations

Liz Burrell has advised that the BIMCO Working Group is looking for input.

Please review the below and the attached document and if this issue relates to your practice, or even if it doesn’t but you would like to comment, please forward your comments to me at [email protected].

BIMCO always tries to make sure that its clauses are up to date both legally and practically.  Because of the interest in consistency and uniformity, most contracts clauses are drafted so as to be used internationally but of course it is recognized that certain clauses must be specific to certain nations because of their unique domestic legal requirements, such as procedures for port entry.

One of the most rapidly evolving regulatory fields over the last years has been advance cargo declarations, especially on this side of the Atlantic.  Thus, a Working Group is revising the current North American Advance Cargo Declaration Clauses for Time and Voyage Charter Parties (as set out in the attached Special Circular) to take account of new Canadian regulations.

A member of the Working Group has suggested that the clause’s US provisions have become anachronistic and should be deleted because: (a) owners now have their own bonds in place, making it unnecessary for charterers to supply a bond; and (b) under both time and voyage charters, owners now handle all advance notification requirements, making it unnecessary to apportion party responsibility for Customs compliance.  Nevertheless, a BIMCO member who trades frequently to the US disagrees and advises that the clauses are necessary and continue to be used.

Donald Chard, BIMCO’s Legal and Contractual Affairs Consultant, has asked us to provide some reliable advice on the US portion of the clause, most especially our views on the content of the US portion of the clause and information on how such procedures are currently being handled.