News 19 Aug, 2013

Argentina - New Customs Regulations to Determine the Weight of Exported Solid Bulk Cargoes

Correspondents Pandi Liquidadores, Buenos Aires have advised the Club of the introduction of General Resolution 3506 by the Federal Administration of Public Revenue concerning the determination of the weight of exported solid bulk cargoes.  

Shippers could previously choose to ascertain the weight of a solid bulk cargo by either shore weighing scale or draft survey. The shore scale method has often led to differences between the bill of lading and shipper’s cargo figures at the load port, giving rise to the potential for shortage claims and the imposition of customs fines against the carrier at the discharge port. 

The new resolution requires the local customs office, rather than the shippers, to select the method to be used.

If the local customs office decides that the weight of the cargo should be calculated by draft survey, it is recommended that a document specifying the cargo quantity as determined by customs be signed by both customs and the vessel. A copy should be retained on board to help defend any claims brought by cargo interests at the discharge port.

If customs decide to use a shore weighing scale, a draft survey should still be carried out to compare the findings with the shore scale figures.

Local customs authorities in Argentina are required to appoint qualified personnel to oversee the method selected to determine the weight of export cargoes. Should Members have any concerns regarding the accuracy of the figures obtained or the apparent difference between ship and shore figures they should consider the appointment of a P&I surveyor and contact the Club accordingly.

None of the above should be construed as a variation of Members’ obligation to issue a bill of lading which properly reflects the amount of cargo that the Master believes has been loaded on board. Failure to do so may prejudice Club cover.

Finally, although these new regulations are aimed at export cargoes, Members may wish to consider involving the local customs authorities in the weighing process and invite them to attend draft surveys to determine the weight of imported cargoes.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.