GENEVA — Major brand owners, including Lacoste, Chanel and Richemont, and top global shipping companies such as Maersk, along with international businesses and freight forwarding groups, signed a declaration of intent Wednesday aimed at preventing the use of maritime transport for counterfeit goods.
“The declaration demonstrates the commitment of vessel owners, transport service providers, and brand owners to work together to eliminate counterfeits from maritime trade routes,” said Jeffrey Hardy, director of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy initiative.
Michael Jul Hansen, customs and trade compliance lead for Maersk Line, said, “Maersk has been a leader in taking steps to prevent the use of our vessels for the shipment of counterfeit and other illicit goods, and this declaration is a reaffirmation of our intent to do everything we can to ensure our ships are counterfeit-free.”
The declaration, signed in Brussels, is a direct reaction to the concerns of brand owners that vessels hauling their legitimate goods were also being exploited by criminal networks to transport fake versions.
The text calls for industry to address the problem through a zero-tolerance policy regarding counterfeiting, and to address this through the implementation of agreed international, regional and national rules and standards at preventing the carriage of counterfeit goods; inform customers and sub-contractors of these commitments, and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
It also calls for supply chain controls, and other due diligence measures, risk profiling and raising awareness initiatives, including improving the training of staff in the transport sector to enable them to report suspected counterfeit activity.
A report published earlier this year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that of the $461 billion in counterfeit goods that moved through international trade in 2013, almost 10 percent were shipped by maritime vessels.
The initial list of signatories also included, among others, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, the world’s second- and third-biggest liner shipping companies, respectively; Expeditors; Kuehne+Nagel; Dupont; Unilever; P&G; Pfizer; ICC BASCAP, and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations.