Argentina - Determination of Weight of Solid Bulk Cargoes

1 October 2013

Members calling at Argentinean ports to load or discharge solid bulk cargoes may be aware of changes to the Argentinean Regulationsin relation to the measurement of such cargoes. The Correspondent in Buenos Aires, Pandi Liquidadores, reports that in June 2013 the Federal Administration of Public Revenue circulated a General Resolution giving the Customs Authorities the power to decide whether the weight or volume of bulk cargoes be determined by shore scales or draft survey (click here).  Previously it was for importers/exporters to decide the method used to determine cargo weight. Since the implementation of the Regulation, the practical application of it by the Customs Authorities and/or adherence to it by shippers has given rise to some issues. These issues have been reported by the Correspondent as follows, along with recommendations as to how deal with them:-

A. Export Cargoes

Pandi Liquidadores report that in most cases the Customs Authorities are using draft surveys to determine the weight of solid bulk cargoes. There are, however, exceptions. For example, shore scale figures are being used in Necochea and Bahia Blanca in circumstances where the difference between the customs draft survey and shore scale cargo figure is below 0.6%. If the difference is above 0.6%, the draft survey figure will be used.

Members should proceed with caution as in some instances shippers and their agents are presenting Mate’s Receipts with shore scale figures to the vessel, rather than the figures ascertained by the Customs Authorities’ draft survey. In the circumstances, it is recommended by the Correspondent that:-

  1. The Master/shipboard personnel participate in the draft survey carried out by the Customs Authorities (in the event that Members have concerns as to the accurate determination of the weight/volume of cargo and need further assistance, Members should approach their usual Club contact to discuss whether a surveyor needs to assist);
  2. The Master counter-sign any draft survey figures produced by the Customs Authorities (assuming that he is in agreement) and a copy is kept on board;
  3. The figures in the Mate’s Receipts should be those ascertained by the Customs Authorities’ draft survey, where applicable.

B. Import Cargoes

Discharge quantities are being calculated by reference to shore scales (particularly in relation to fertilizer cargoes), with discrepancies between the manifested and discharged cargo possibly giving rise to Customs fines.

In circumstances where the hatches have in fact been sealed at the load port, Members may wish to consider inviting the Customs Authorities and receivers to perform a draft survey and to witness unsealing of hatches, even if shore scales are being used to determine the official measurement of cargo. The Correspondent reports that in some previous instances, the Customs Authorities have agreed to such a request and it has helped to reduce the severity of any Customs fines and any claims from receivers.