Shippers and brand owners have joined forces to sign a declaration aimed at preventing the transport of counterfeit goods.
The declaration acknowledges the “destructive impact” of counterfeits on international trade and calls on the maritime industry to address it through zero tolerance, strict supply chain controls and other due diligence checks.
The Declaration of Intent to Prevent the Maritime Transport of Counterfeit Goods was signed in Brussels by leading global shipping firms, freight forwarders, 10 multinational brand manufacturers and various trade associations.
Signatories include Chanel, P&G, Unilever, Dupont, Lacoste, Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company.
“More transporters, brand owners and their industry associations are expected to join the voluntary initiative as awareness grows,” said the International Chamber of Commerce’s Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP), which organised the declaration.
More than 90% of all international trade is moved in more than 500m containers on 89,000 maritime vessels but less than 2% of containers are inspected, according to the UN.
“This results in enormous opportunities for criminal networks to abuse this critical supply chain channel to transport huge quantities of counterfeit products affecting virtually every product sector,” said BASCAP. It said $461bn in counterfeit goods moved through international trade in 2013.
Meena Sayal, chair of BASCAP and global brand protection director for Unilever, said: “BASCAP member companies, including Unilever, have been frustrated in seeing that the same transport companies that we use to ship our products around the world are being abused by criminals to distribute fake versions of our products.
“We recognise this is a new and complicated issue for many in the transport industry, but appreciate the unanimous recognition – from all of the companies that we have talked to – that there is a problem and more can be done to solve it.”
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