Freight group BIFA updates trading conditions

UK freight forwarder association BIFA has announced that it will launch updated Standard Trading Conditions (STC) for the first time since 2005.
The new STC will be launched on October 1 and follows an extensive review of the existing conditions by the BIFA Legal and Insurance Policy Group, taking advice from solicitors with significant experience of the freight and logistics industry.
BIFA said that two clauses had undergone "significant changes" — clause 17 is updated to take into account new shipping container weighing requirements.
The revised terms provide a warranty from the customer that they are giving an accurate and actual verified gross mass of any container packed with packages and cargo items.
"This means that if the member is legally responsible for provision of this information to the carrier, then it is able to pursue the customer, if the mass is not accurate, under the indemnity at clause 20 for any losses incurred as a result," BIFA said.
Clause 28, which covers the jurisdiction of any claim, has been amended so that any member can choose arbitration rather than litigation in order to deal with any dispute they may have with their customer.
"This improves the ability for members to pursue their customers in jurisdictions that may not give effect to an English law and jurisdiction clause in favour of English Courts, or may not have any reciprocal agreement in force with the United Kingdom regarding the enforcement of judgments."
BIFA 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.
“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.

“This is something we address constantly with members and BIFA will be urging its members to check that they do everything they can to ensure their company has adopted the necessary steps in its good practice guide on this subject which is available on the BIFA website.”
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