This UN/CEFACT Recommendation 45 on Minimum Standards for Ship Agents and Ship Brokers (ECE/TRADE/462) is an update of the 1988 UNCTAD minimum standards for ship agents and a reflection of the changes in operational practices in the ship agency profession. It also recognizes, for the first time, the role of the ship broker in bringing the ship and cargo together. It aims to reconcile the effects of increased digitalization with the requirements for ship agents and ship brokers. It draws particular attention to the importance of upholding a high standard of business ethics and professional conduct and promoting a high level of professional qualifications and experience, necessary to combat maritime fraud and provide high quality service.
In partnership with the IMO, the definitions in this Recommendation were brought closer in line with the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, and amended in 2018 to include the digital exchange of shipping information between ships and ports, an area of UN/CEFACT’s expertise. Since 2019, the FAL Convention requires all actors to exchange data electronically and strongly encourages the use of the Maritime Single Window, adapted from UN/CEFACT’s recommendations and guidelines. UN/CEFACT’s mission is to improve the capacity of business, trade, and administrative organizations to trade effectively and reduce administrative burden. Given the vital role played by ship agents in ensuring that maritime transport continues to operate effectively and efficiently, the standards presented in this Recommendation contribute to this capacity building and underpin the wider work of the UNECE, particularly in the field of SDG 8 which promotes sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The minimum standards outlined in this Recommendation also contribute to combatting illicit trade and piracy that greatly undermine our collective efforts to reach sustainability and equality. And just as this illegal activity transcends national borders, we must forge a joint response to help build the capacity of ship agents and brokers who are working on the front lines.