Brand owners raise maritime transport of counterfeit goods at major industry gathering

Kuala Lumpur, 5 October 2017 – Leaders of the freight forwarding and logistics industry gathering for the 56th World Congress of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) taking place in Malaysia this week will hear for the first time from a brand owner representative underscoring concern about the global transport of counterfeits and the work being done to tackle the problem.

ICC maritime transport counterfeit goodsMeena Sayal, Director of Global Brand Protection for Unilever, will represent the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (BASCAP) in addressing the Congress.

FIATA represents approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms. The FIATA 56th World Congress 2017, held this week in Kuala Lumpur, brings together logistics experts and other industry players around this year’s theme of “Logistics Bridging Global Trade”.

Discussions across the five days cover the increasing demand for supply chain and logistics support as companies expand their businesses internationally and cross-border trade increases.

Alongside discussions on issues such as worldwide legislative developments in transport and the latest in technology, training and guidelines in security and safety, Ms Sayal will present statistics on the global trade in counterfeits and the work BASCAP is doing in partnership with the maritime sector.

Organised criminals exploiting unverified containers

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, containerised transport of goods accounts for around 90% of total international trade; however, less than 2% of these containers are ever inspected to verify their contents. This results in vast opportunities for organised criminal networks to abuse this critical channel within the global supply chain by transporting counterfeit products of virtually all types – from toys, to shampoos, to medicines – in huge numbers.

According to a report by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) / European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), trade in counterfeit goods amounted to US $461 billion in 2013, an 80% increase on the figures from 2008. This means that counterfeits account for 2.5% of total global trade value. A further report by Frontier Economics, commissioned by BASCAP and the International Trademark Association (INTA), predicts the total annual cost of counterfeiting and digital piracy at between US $923 billion – 1.13 trillion, and predicts this could double by 2022 if current trends continue.

Private sector commitment

In order to tackle this issue, brand owners and representatives from the international shipping industry joined forces in November 2016 by signing “The Declaration of Intent to Prevent the Maritime Transport of Counterfeit Goods”. This historic move marked the first time that brand owners and the global shipping industry came together and made a public commitment to work jointly to stop the transport of counterfeit goods aboard shipping vessels. Ms Sayal is the Co-Chair of this maritime DOI Signatories Group.

Alongside leading global shipping firms, freight forwarders and a number of multinational brand manufacturers, FIATA was one of the initial signatories to join ICC BASCAP and ICC’s Commercial Crime Services (CCS) in signing this document.

“We have been extremely pleased by the cooperative and collaborative response from the transport industry,” Ms Sayal said of the signing of the DOI.  “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.