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New BIFA terms and conditions from 1 October

[ September 18, 2017   //   ]

 

The new edition of the British International Freight Association’s (BIFA) Standard Trading Conditions (STC), last revised in 2005, will be launched on 1 October.

The revised edition has been produced following an extensive review of the existing STC by the BIFA Legal and Insurance Policy Group, taking advice from specialist solicitors.
BIFA says that although the current edition of the STC is still effective and well-balanced, the updated version includes some helpful amendments and clarifications.
Director general, Robert Keen, said: “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.”
Major changes include clause 17, which has been extended to take account of the verified gross mass (VGM) requirements. The revised terms provide a warranty from the customer that they are giving an accurate and actual VGM of any container packed with packages and cargo items. This means that if the Member is legally responsible for providing this information to the carrier, it could pursue the customer if the mass is not accurate.
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 a customer. This will make it easier for members to pursue customers in some jurisdictions, or may not have any reciprocal agreement in force with the UK for enforcement of judgments.
Some outdated wording has been revised as well as the preamble and definitions being made tighter to reflect the new EU regulation number following introduction of the Union Customs Code.
The role of the direct representative has been reinforced. 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.
Keen added: “The importance of BIFA members ensuring that their incorporation of the BIFA STC into their contracts with their customers is effective cannot be stressed enough.
“We have been notified of a couple of instances recently where a BIFA member took a customer to a county court only to have the BIFA STC set aside as it could not provide evidence to the court that the STC were effectively incorporated in the contract.”

He urged BIFA members to read  its good practice guide available on the website.

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