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NVOCC code of conduct
Code of Conduct Agreement for Non Vessel Owning Common Carriers (NVOCCs)
W H E R E A S
a) The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has established a register for Non Vessel Owning Common Carriers (the Register). The purpose of the Register is to improve anti-fraud standards and provide a mechanism to recognise participating NVOCCs who adhere to a minimum standard of anti-fraud measures in their operations. It is noted that there is a prevalence of incorrect NVOCC bills of lading presented to banks and other stakeholders in the trading and finance chain.
b) XXXXX Ltd (hereinafter the “Participating NVOCC”) wishes to join the Register and abide by the Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct) as set out in this Code of Conduct Agreement (Agreement) below.
c) For the purposes of this Agreement, (i) a Non Vessel Owning Common Carrier (NVOCC) is a company which issues a bill of lading and assumes the role of the carrier of the cargo, and (ii) joining the Register does not relieve an NVOCC of its obligation to register its company or activities with the competent, local authorities.
T H E T E R M S O F T H E C O D E O F C O N D U C T A G R E E M E N T A R E
1) By signing this Agreement, the Participating NVOCC (and its named affiliates, if any)
(i) agrees to be included in the Register
(ii) agrees to comply with the Code of Conduct
(iii) confirms that they and any of their officials named in the Register have consented to their details being used by the IMB for the purposes stated herein.
2) The Participating NVOCC will pay the annual subscription fee of £[xxx] to the IMB within seven days of receipt of the invoice from the IMB.
3) Subject to the realization of both (1) and (2) above, the IMB will ensure that the Participating NVOCC is registered on the Register. An online Register portal will be set up by the IMB through which any company with a legitimate interest (hereinafter the “Enquiring Company”) in confirming the registration of the Participating NVOCC may verify such registration. Enquiring Companies will need to be registered with the IMB to ensure that only those entitled to make such enquiries can do so. Enquiring Companies will be given access to the Register via a secure online portal. All the Participating NVOCC’s contact details in article 10 below will be available upon enquiry through the portal except for the details of the Designated Persons. It is the responsibility of the Participating NVOCC to ensure any change in the information is promptly notified to the IMB e.g. change of telephone numbers, address, designated persons etc.
4) The registration will be valid for one year from the date of payment of the IMB invoice and subject to the Participating NVOCC not being removed from the Register, registration may be renewed automatically upon re-signing the Agreement with amendments if any, and the payment of the subscription fee.
5) The Participating NVOCC is requested to include up-to-date contact details of the Participating NVOCC (telephone number, website, address) on the face of all bills of lading it issues.
6) The Participating NVOCC will make all efforts to ensure that any bill of lading it issues as Carrier will reflect the true facts and circumstances of the shipment, that it has taken the proper steps to ensure that the contents stated therein are correct and they have the authority from or on behalf of the actual carrier to issue the bill of lading. This would include but not be limited to: the date of the bill of lading, and the shipped on board notation, if any, as well as the names of the vessel (s), Shipper, Consignee, Notify Party and the description of the goods as advised to them by the Shipper, the container number, seal number, all Hazardous Material nomenclature, the identity of the signatory as Carrier, and, if available, the identity of the actual carrier. If an Agent is appointed to issue the bill of lading, the responsibility for that Agent to accurately issue the bill of lading and abide by all good practices, rules and regulations of origin and destination countries falls on the Participating NVOCC as Carrier.
7) The Participating NVOCC will ensure that it has issued the Bill of Lading or caused it to be issued, based upon credible written information such as a Master Bill of Lading issued by the actual carrier of the cargo or other written information from the actual carrier or a party verified to be acting on behalf of the actual carrier.
8) It is the responsibility of the Participating NVOCC to maintain records of the documentation in respect of any such bill of lading it has issued or that was issued on their behalf for a period of three years from the date of issue of the bill of lading.
9) The Participating NVOCC will, promptly, within one working day respond to queries from the IMB aimed at verifying bills of lading issued by the Participating NVOCC or bills of lading issued on their behalf. The Participating NVOCC recognises that queries by the IMB regarding the bills of lading issued by the Participating NVOCC or on its behalf are time-sensitive to other stakeholders and require a prompt and comprehensive response. The information in the IMB’s queries and its subsequent responses will be treated confidentially by the Participating NVOCC and will not be passed on to any third party without the express permission of the IMB. The IMB’s queries will be addressed to the Designated Person of the company listed in (vi) below.
10) The Participating NVOCC’s contact details are
(i) Valid /renewed certificate of incorporation/trade license details
(ii) Full style and company registration details if applicable
(iii) Office address
(iv) Postal address if different from the above
(v) Telephone: Fax: Email:
(vi) Details of Designated Persons of the Company:
Designated Person 1: [name, telephone, email ID]
Designated Person 2: [name, telephone, email ID]
11) If the Participating NVOCC fails to provide a full and satisfactory response to the IMB queries as stated in article 9 above, the IMB will record a “negative incident” against the Participating NVOCC and will so notify the Participating NVOCC privately. Two such negative incidents within a single registration period may result in removal of the Participating NVOCC from the Register unless the Participating NVOCC can show that changes have been made in its management and operations to properly implement the Code of Conduct AND key staff of the Participating NVOCC have completed a recognised training course which recommends the practices set out in this Code of Conduct and is approved by the IMB. Nevertheless, any further breaches of the Code of Conduct within the subscription year may result (at the IMB’s sole discretion) in the removal of the Participating NVOCC from the Register. Any decision by the IMB to remove the Participating NVOCC from the Register may be appealed by an application addressed jointly to the Director of the ICC Commercial Crime Services and the Senior Representative of the ICC Secretariat at the ICC Banking Commission. The decision on appeal will be finalized and conveyed to the Participating NVOCC within 3 months of the date of the filing of the complaint, and will be final and binding. Pending the appeal, the Participating NVOCC will remain suspended from the Register.
12) All disputes arising out of or in connection with the present Agreement, and not settled by the administrative mechanism provided for in article 11, shall be referred to the appropriate courts in London and English law will apply.
If you are interested in joining the register please click here to complete the required details.