Tuesday 25th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

BIFA sees no need for change to General Average

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has responded to a review of the rules of General Average by saying it sees no need for change.

The review of General Average, an ancient maritime law that sees all cargo owners chip in a sum of money to recompense a ship’s master when it is forced to sacrifice cargo, was undertaken by the Comite Maritime International (CMI).

BIFA is questioning its members and has gained much support in its proposal for the maintenance of General Average as well as little need for changes to the well-accepted custom.

Peter Quantrill, BIFA director-general, said: “The adage is ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. This is not just a saying that affects machinery: business systems, such as insurance policies, are equally affected.

“If a General Average is declared, any standard marine policy will include General Average losses so if the goods have been insured the importer should obtain a General Average guarantee from the insurers. If no insurance has been organised then a cash deposit will be needed, Quantrill continued.

“When our members receive notification that a General Average has been declared for a vessel, whatever the position, their first action is to give the importer immediate notice. The appointed average adjusters will need to be in possession of completed guarantees and bond forms or cash deposit before release of cargo, so it is vital that the importer takes immediate action.”

BIFA members promote marine insurance to their customers, aiming at giving them peace of mind when a General Average is declared.