The July edition of the FIATA Review magazine contained an article which says that the International Chamber of Commerce IMB has established a register for Non-Vessel-Owning Common Carriers (NVOCC). The purpose of the register is to improve anti-fraud standards and to encourage higher standards by providing a mechanism to recognise participating NVOCC that adhere to a minimum standard of anti-fraud measures in their operations. An NVOCC is defined as “a company that issues bills of lading and assumes the role of the carrier of the cargo”. According to the IMB, NVOCC issue more than 90% of all suspect bills of lading identified in its database. Suspect bills of lading are those which have false contents, including the incorrect vessel, dates, description of the cargo, container numbers or parties. They are presented to banks in order to commit fraud, money laundering, illegal capital flight and to bypass sanctions. The article says that many NVOCC operate to high standards, but the simple fact cannot be ignored that there are some that do not. The sector is unregulated in many countries and the standards of trade knowledge are very variable. The Register is backed by an online course designed by the IMB and run by the ICC Academy, which specialises in trade-related online training. If an NVOCC is unable to satisfactorily explain a query regarding a bill of lading issued by it, or there is some evidence that the document contained false information, it will be recorded as a ‘strike’ in the IMB database. 2 such ‘strikes’ within 1 year will result in the NVOCC being removed from the Register, unless it can demonstrate that it has put procedures in place to ensure that these errors are no longer repeated.
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