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Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am an Association Member, what are the available FIATA transport documents?

As FIATA documents are internationally recognized and enjoy significant reliability, integrity, and traceability directly linked to their reputation, their uniformity is of utmost importance. Due to copyright protection, these documents can only be introduced upon conclusion of a Licensing Agreement with FIATA and within the national association’s territory. FIATA offers the possibility for Association Members to distribute the following documents:

  • FIATA Forwarders Certificate of Receipt (FIATA FCR)
  • FIATA Forwarders Certificate of Transport (FIATA FCT)
  • FIATA Warehouse Receipt (FWR)
  • Negotiable FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading (FBL)
  • Non-Negotiable FIATA Multimodal Transport Waybill (FWB)
  • Shippers Declaration for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (FIATA SDT)
  • Shippers Intermodal Weight Certification (FIATA SIC)
  • FIATA Forwarding Instruction (FFI)

2. As an Association Member, how can I distribute FIATA transport documents to my members?

The process requires the payment of a CHF 200 administrative fee per licensed document, in addition to a CHF 125 fee for the PDF proof.

Once an Association Member has confirmed its interest to be licensed for one or more FIATA transport documents, the licensing process is as follows:

  • FIATA will send the Licensing Agreement Pack to the national association by email. This will include the Licensing Agreement for signature by the national association, together with the specimen of the requested transport document(s) and instructions for distribution in annex, along with an invoice for the relevant fees.
  • Once FIATA has received the signed copies of the Licensing Agreement and payment, a print proof of the requested FIATA transport document(s) will be sent to the national association to affix their logo onto the document.
  • The national association should then send the final version back to FIATA to request approval for print.
  • Once the final approval has been given by FIATA, the documents can be printed for use.

3. What are the specific conditions of distribution?

Association Members should note that being licensed to distribute FIATA transport documents includes the obligation to keep a register of all companies to which they distribute the documents. Where the distribution of the FBL or FWB is concerned, the Association Member must ensure that the company to which such documents are distributed holds appropriate liability insurance, and must keep a record of such. For other documents, liability insurance is strongly recommended.

4. What is the duration of the Licensing Agreement?

Those agreements are valid for a period of one year and may be automatically renewed for one further year, after careful review carried out by FIATA. In case of request for renewal by the Association Member, the process remains the same, with the only difference being the lower administrative fee of CHF 100 for renewal.

5. I am an Individual Member, how can I obtain FIATA transport documents to use in my business transactions?

FIATA transport documents are internationally recognized and enjoy an excellent reputation due to their significant reliability, integrity, and traceability. They should be obtained through Association Members who have been licensed by FIATA to distribute the documents. However, when there is no licensed national association in the territory of an Individual Member, there is the possibility to obtain FIATA documents for business transactions in the Individual Member’s national territory directly with FIATA.

The interested member has to sign a User Agreement(s) with FIATA for each requested type of document(s) and pay an administrative fee of CHF 50 plus CHF 1.50 per document, in addition to the relevant courier or registered mailing fees.

Once the interested member has specified the type of FIATA document(s), along with the number of copies required, the process is as follows:

  • The User Agreement Package is sent out, containing:
  1. Instructions for use, which must be signed and returned to FIATA;
  2. A documents and forms booklet, containing the requested FIATA transport document(s); and terms and conditions;
  3. A detailed invoice.
  • Once FIATA has received the signed copies of the User Agreement, the copy of the relevant liability insurance, and proof of payment, the documents are mailed to the Individual Member.

Kindly note that when liability insurance is required, FIATA will require a proof of liability insurance renewal.

6. What are the specific conditions to obtain the documents?

The Individual Member will be required to demonstrate that it holds the appropriate liability insurance where necessary. Special attention must be paid to the terms and conditions, and legal advice should be sought as appropriate.

7. I am an Individual Member with offices in different countries, how can I obtain FIATA transport documents to use in my business transactions?

FIATA documents are usually distributed via Association Members who conclude a Licensing Agreement for distribution within their territory. Interested Individual Members would therefore have to directly contact the country’s national association in which it has offices to obtain FIATA documents. If an Individual Member has offices in a country without any national association, a User Agreement can be signed with FIATA. For the detailed process, please refer to the previous question. 

8. I am a FIATA member (Association or Individual), can I have access to digitalized templates of FIATA documents e.g. FBL to use in my business transactions?

According to the terms and conditions of the agreements FIATA holds with its members, either licensing agreement with national association or user agreement with individual members, distribution of FIATA documents, including the FIATA Multimodal Transport Bill of Lading, can only take place in paper form. Therefore, FIATA does not have downloadable templates to supply to members, as this would potentially contravene the strict compliance and audit control of the documents in place.

However, FIATA is working on several digitalization projects, which include a digital version of the FIATA Bill of Lading. This solution is currently being tested through a Proof of Concept, which will then follow implementation and is expected to be finalized by early 2022. The eFBL will then be available through everyday tools (TMSs).

For more information, please visit fiata.com/what-we-do/digitalization/projects.html.

9. Can I print the FIATA Bill of Lading in a different colour than the specified blue?

No, the only valid FBL is blue – conforming with the Licensing Agreement and in line with the document specimens provided by FIATA. Any other FBL in a different colour will not be considered as an original copy.

10. I am a FIATA member (Association or Individual), can I enter a group bond to have our house bill of lading licensed?

Since 2005, FIATA in partnership with Avalon Risk Management provide a group NVOCC bond which meets the financial responsibility requirements of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). All FIATA members in their country of domicile are eligible to participate in the bond. To apply, please contact fiatabond@avalonrisk.com with the following documents:

  • A completed and signed copy of the FIATA Group Bond Programme Application and Indemnity Agreement
  • A current FIATA membership certificate
  • An Evidence of Cargo Legal Liability and Errors and Omissions Insurance
  • Avalon may require evidence that your FMC registration has been approved

For more information and to download the FIATA Group Bond Application form, please visit www.avalonrisk.com/fiata_bond.html.

11. Why were the issuance of the FIATA Forwarders Certificate of Receipt (FCR) for steel shipments prohibited ?

In 2001, and after a careful investigation by FIATA, FIATA decided to prohibit the issuance of the FCR for steel shipments given numerous incidents where freight forwarders had issued the FIATA FCR without actually disposing of the goods. A considerable percentage of these occurrences were found to be based on fraudulent activities, mainly by the seller of the goods, or on forgery of the FIATA FCR. In all cases, the buyers of the goods had relied on the FIATA FCR that was also partly stipulated in a letter of credit, and were not able to obtain the goods despite having paid the purchase price in most instances.  

This prohibition of the FIATA FCR for steel shipments continues to be effective to uphold the reputation and integrity of FIATA documents. This does not apply to shipments of products that are simply made of steel. Association Members are requested to ensure their members, together with the banking community in their national contexts, are made aware of this restriction.  

12. I am involved in a business dispute with another company, can I get FIATA’s assistance?

FIATA takes fraud issues very seriously, but is neither an arbitrator nor a legal firm, nor a Court of Law. FIATA is unfortunately not in a position to give legal advice and suggests that independent legal advice be sought.

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