New BIFA trading conditions to launch

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The British International Freight Association’s new Standard Trading Conditions (STC) are to be launched next month. The terms were last updated in 2005.

The new conditions have been put together following an “extensive review of the existing STC by the BIFA Legal and Insurance Policy Group, taking advice from solicitors with significant experience of the freight and logistics industry.”

The main changes are:

  • Clause 17, which has been extended to take account of the SOLAS rules relating to verified gross mass (VGM) requirements.
  • Clause 28, which covers the jurisdiction of any claim, has been amended so that any member can choose arbitration rather than litigation to deal with any dispute they may have with their customer.
  • Out-dated wording has been revised, and the preamble and definitions being have been made tighter to reflect the new EU regulation number following the introduction of the Union Customs Code.
  • Additionally, the role of the direct representative has had a specific reinforcement. According to the association, “This issue has become more complex over the past year and there have been changes in trade such as the growth in fulfilment houses where there is no EU representative, while HMRC is demanding more detailed evidence of the status.”

According to the association, the existing conditions are still effective and well-balanced, but the updated version will “give BIFA members and their customers some helpful amendments and clarifications.”

“Over time, in the same ways laws must change, so do contractual rights and obligations that flow from these changes and therefore it is essential to review any set of industry terms against changes in legislation and industry practice,” said Robert Keen, director general, BIFA.

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