The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) has spoken out on behalf of the shipping industry in response to the U.K. government's latest action in the fight against foot and mouth disease. In a letter to Mr. J M Scudamore, chief veterinary officer of The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the ICS has voiced its concerns over recent instructions that all wheeled vehicles must be sprayed with disinfectant prior to departure from U.K. ports, including those being carried in containers.
Whilst the Institute fully supports the efforts of the government in tackling the spread of foot and mouth, it has taken issue with the practicalities of the spraying program. "The requirement to spray vehicles in containers within 24 hours prior to departure is unworkable," says Roy Davies, chairman of the ICS Federation Council. He adds, "Vehicles departing in containers are regularly loaded, and the containers sealed by Customs, significantly in advance of departure. It is therefore impractical for any sealed containers to be re-opened for the purpose of re-spraying the wheels." Of particular concern to the ICS is the disruption to port operations this will cause and the serious implications for the current Customs clearance system if containers that were previously sealed and certified are re-opened. What is also unclear is who should bear the costs of this latest instruction. The ICS has drawn the government's attention to the mounting costs already borne by the shipping industry due to other government measures such as x-raying containers and the prevention of illegal immigrants. "In some ports, but not all, the cost of spraying vehicles has been passed on by the stevedores, who are carrying out the spraying, to the ship agent and therefore by implication to the shipping industry. Action to halt the spread of foot and mouth disease is the responsibility of the government and we believe that the costs of doing so should also be borne by the government," says Davies.
The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers was established in 1911 to represent professionals working in the shipping industry. Through its correspondence college, Tutorship, and its 25 branches worldwide, it offers training and education in all areas of the industry. It also plays a leading role in the standardization and updating of documentary terms and conditions and collaborates closely with FONASBA, BIMCO, IMO, UNCTAD, Intertanko, Intercargo and The Baltic Exchange
, giving its members a voice at national and international level.