In April 2013, FONASBA’s Executive Committee approved the draft criteria proposed for compliance with the FONASBA Quality Standard by APRAM, the Federation’s Moroccan association.
APRAM therefore becomes the 20th association accredited to the Quality Standard. A press statement issued by FONASBA to mark this significant milestone in the development of the Quality Standard as THE global standard for ship agents and ship brokers and a copy is available here.
Further information on the Quality Standard, the countries and companies covered by it and the minimum criteria required to be met by applicant associations can be found on this website here
Recognised by BIMCO, Intercargo and INTERTANKO, the Standard is now accredited toFONASBA’s member associations in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Spain and the USA. Nearly 300 companies in those associations have now been approved under the programme The FONASBA Quality Standard has been awarded to independent agents operating in only one or two ports as well as those with country-wide networks.
FONASBA’s remaining member associations are being encouraged to adopt the Standard in order to allow ship owners and operators to utilise Quality Standard approved agents in as many ports as possible.
Proposals by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament to impose a levy on all ship calls at EU ports to fund sustainable ship recycling has been strongly opposed by a group of major European maritime sector organisations.
ECASBA joined with the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA), the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) the Federation of European Private Port Operators (FEPORT), the European Boatmen’s Association (EBA), the European Dredging Association (EuDA) and the European Tugowners Association (ETO) in signing a joint letter to the Parliament calling for the levy to be abandoned.
Whilst welcoming the European Commission’s plans (Reg. COM(2012)) to implement the measures incorporated in the 2009 Hong Kong Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, the associations fear that imposing an additional cost burden on European ports would adversely affect their competitiveness whilst at the same time penalising shipowners who have already invested in vessels that comply with the Hong Kong Convention. Furthermore, introducing the levy may result in the main ship recycling states failing to ratify the Convention.
As well as supporting the letter, a copy of which can be found here, ECASBA has also called on its members to raise the issue with their national administrations and also their MEPS.
ECASBA has expressed its concerns about the failure of the “trilogue” (the joint decision-making body comprising the European Commission, European Parliament and Council) to reach agreement on the way forward for European customs integration. The trilogue met on 11th April but ultimately decided to postpone any further discussion for at least another four months. This further delay to the progress of customs integration, which is vital to enable the European transport industry to operate effectively, is extremely disappointing.
ECASBA has therefore taken the opportunity to express its views to both the European Parliament, via its IMCO consumer affairs committee, and to the Commission’s Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG-TAXUD). ECASBA’s twenty-one European Union member associations are also being asked to raise the issue directly with their own national administrations and their representatives in the European Parliament.
ECASBA has supported moves by Finnish Customs, other EU Member State customs authorities and the Finnish Shipbrokers’ Association to ensure that the guarantee waivers and level 2 simplifications available to EU ship agents under the Modernised Customs Code (MCC) are retained in the Union Customs Code (UCC) which is set to replace it.
Although to UCC is only supposed to vary from the MCC in minor respects directly related to changes in Europe following introduction of the Lisbon Treaty, it has been revealed that a number of provisions of the MCC have either been modified or in some cases not carried over at all.
Loss of the guarantee waiver facility and the level 2 simplifications will significantly increase the financial liabilities and workload of European ship agents and ECASBA’s support for the campaign to ensure their retention was assured.
Chairman Antonio Belmar da Costa therefore wrote in March 2013 to the European Commissioners for Transport, Taxation and Customs Union, senior members of their Directorates General (DG-MOVE and DG-TAXUD) and the chairmen of the European Parliament’s influential Transport and Tourism and Consumer Affairs Committees (RETT and IMCO). A copy of his letter can be found here.
ECASBA was invited by the European Commission to participate in a major conference on e-Maritime held in Brussels on 22nd/23rd November and to present its views to one of the sector-specific workshops that were held on the second day of the event.
ECASBA’s presentation was entitled “The Port Agent, the Centre of the Port-Ship Operation” and had two main aims. Firstly we set out to demonstrate to the audience both the pivotal role of the ship agent in the efficient and effective progress of the port call and, with the advantage of being the only party to see the whole picture, the agent’s ability to add further value o the call through a proactive approach to scheduling and the provision of port services to the best advantage of the master, owners and indeed the whole port community.
The second aim was to express the view that by itself, the introduction of a regime to allow the electronic transmission of data between the ship and shore would add very little value, primarily because the current system of data dissemination, effected by the agent and (in many ports) the port community systems, already worked very efficiently. We therefore argued that the main thrust of the programme should be aimed at reducing the volume of information that requires to be exchanged, a point of view that was amply demonstrated in an earlier presentation by the master of a Maersk E-class container vessel who detailed the number and variety of documents he is required to produce on a run of five calls along the coast of Europe.
We also called for the application of single market procedures to the ship reporting function and at the end of our presentation issued a challenge to the authorities present at the meeting that can best be summarised as: “Come up with a valid reason why you need this particular piece of information we are giving you or stop asking for it!”
All the presentations were recorded and are available here.
Shipowners, port users and regulators have been provided with a comprehensive and detailed overview of the many activities undertaken by port agents by The Federation of National Associations of Shipbrokers and Agents (FONASBA). The international association today (Monday 3 December) publishes the Port Procedures Survey, an ambitious project which has codified the numerous separate functions required to get a ship into port, get it loaded or unloaded, and sail to the next port of call. The move is designed to aid regulatory efforts to streamline and harmonise port procedures as well as demonstrate the value of ship agents to shipowners and operators.
The Port Procedures Survey is based on the input of ship agents in more than 30 FONASBA member countries and provides a very detailed picture of the actions needed to be undertaken in each port.
FONASBA President Marygrace Collins said:
“The survey demonstrates that as many as 150 separate actions may be needed to be undertaken by ship agents when dealing with a port call, but there is very little consistency in the way that these actions are undertaken at international, regional or even local level. The amount of time a vessel spends in port has a huge impact on the profitability of a voyage and it is imperative that both regulators and port users understand exactly what ship agents do. FONASBA recommends that professional and well‐ qualified agents are used to ensure that all functions are carried out to the highest standard.”
The Port Procedures Survey is divided into 12 separate sections including pilotage, ships clearance, cargo documents and crew matters.
The Survey concentrates on major ports in the dry and liquid bulk, container and passenger sectors, but these will be supplemented and expanded on an ongoing basis.
Shipbroker Marygrace Collins of US based Bulkore Chartering Inc was elected as President of The Federation of National Associations of Shipbrokers and Agents (FONASBA) at the organisation’s 43rd Annual Meeting in Venice on Friday 12 October. She succeeds Christakis Papavassiliou who steps down after his two year term of office.
“I’m delighted and honoured to have been elected as president of an organisation which provides a united voice for the world’s shipbrokers and agents. We will continue to work hard to promote fair and equitable practices and ensure that the needs of our members are understood at both a governmental level and across the maritime industry,” said Marygrace Collins.
Thanking Chris Papavassiliou, she noted that FONASBA would be concentrating its efforts to get more companies to sign up to the FONASBA Quality Standard in 2013. Launched in 2007, the FONASBA Quality Standard is designed to assist shipowners and operators to identify those agents and brokers who are well-funded and demonstrate a tangible commitment to quality. Another goal of Mrs. Collins’ term of office will be to further promote the importance of education and training within the membership. FONASBA’s efforts in this regard have also been bolstered by the appointment of Capt. Jakov Karmelic as Vice President for Education, whose role is to coordinate the education programmes provided within the Federation’s membership.
Based at London’s Baltic Exchange, FONASBA is made up of 39 national associations of shipbrokers and agents with a further 11 countries represented by associate or candidate members.
Marygrace Collins has been a shipbroker since 1982 and is currently Vice-President of New York based Bulkore Chartering Inc. She has been a FONASBA director since 2006. She served on the Association of. Ship Brokers & Agents (USA) (ASBA) between 1995 and 2008 and was the association’s first female president. She was educated Georgetown and Saint Leo universities and holds a bachelor’s degree in Portuguese. Throughout her career she has worked for several multinational mining companies involved largely in the iron ore trade. She remains active in ASBA, as conference Chair for its annual Cargo Conference and as a moderator for the Association’s Home Study Course, “The Basic Principles of Chartering”. Mrs. Collins is a member of WISTA, the Connecticut Maritime Association, and serves on the Industry Advisory Board of the Global Business and Transportation Department of the Maritime College of the State University of New York.
For further details please contact Jonathan Williams, General Manager, FONASBA
Tel: + 44 20 7623 3113, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
FONASBA is the only organisation representing the global ship agency and ship broking professions. Established in 1969 it now has members in 50 countries. Its remit is to “promote and protect the professions of ship agency and ship broking worldwide”, a task which it undertakes through dialogue with its member associations and with IMO, UNCTAD, UNCITRAL and WCO, as well as through dialogue with the European Commission and other regional bodies. FONASBA also enjoys reciprocal memberships with the Baltic Exchange, BIMCO, INTERTANKO, indemnity insurer ITIC and the Shipbrokers’ Register and works closely with other bodies, both internationally and in Europe.
FONASBA, the international ship brokers and ship agents federation, this week (11 July 2012) gave its full backing to international government and industry efforts aimed at ensuring that shipping containers for export are accurately weighed.
The initiative, which is being led by the World Shipping Council in concert with shipowners’ association BIMCO, the International Association of Ports and Harbours, the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Transport Workers Federation, as well as the maritime administrations of Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States, will be launched at the 17th session of IMO’s Sub-Committee on Dangerous Goods, Solid Cargoes and Containers (DSC 17) in September.
The problem of under-declared and unverified containers is a serious one for ports and ships. A paper to be put forward at the IMO meeting revealed that in recent containership accidents, some boxes had been up to ten tonnes heavier than the manifest weight, leading to stack collapse, capsizes and even contributing to the break up of the vessel.
Onshore, under-declaration has led to crane, straddle carrier and forklift failures as well as stack collapse, overturned trucks and damage to trains, roads and bridges.
With the ship agent being central to the movement of cargo to and from the vessel and port, issues arising from the handling of containers of unverified weight, especially those which are under-declared, can affect the agent anywhere along the transport chain.
Accordingly, FONASBA is very pleased to put its name to the initiative and to support it at the forthcoming IMO meeting.
FONASBA General Manager, Jonathan Williams FICS said:
“Ship agents see the problems which inaccurately weighed containers cause ports and ships every day. It is extremely worrying that there is currently no obligation for containers to be accurately weighed anywhere along the transport chain. FONASBA hopes that this initiative will rectify this anomaly and bring considerably more certainty, resulting in increased safety levels for all parties in the container shipping sector.”
World Shipping Council President and CEO Chris Koch welcomed FONASBA’s support for the initiative and said the Council and the other partners were looking forward to the Federation’s input to the discussions in IMO and elsewhere.