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  • 2021 March 18 10:22

    China ban on transport of highly toxic chemicals in Yangtze River basin

    The BIMCO Maritime information department has received the following important notice from Oasis P&I Services. The announcement relates to the Chinese government enacting the Yangtze River Protection Law, banning the transportation of highly toxic chemicals in the Yangtze River effective 1 March 2021. This will impact many important ports including some wharfs of the Shanghai Port, Nantong, Zhenjiang, Zhangjiagang, Jiangyin, etc.

    In order to strengthen the protection and restoration of the ecological environment, to promote the rational and efficient utilization of resources and ensure ecological safety in the Yangtze River Basin, China enacted the Yangtze River Protection Law (hereinafter referred to as the “Law”) on 26 Dec 2020 which came into effect as of 01 Mar 2021.

    The total length of the Yangtze River is about 6300 km and its the main waterway is about 2843 km long. The main ports along the Yangtze River include some wharfs of Shanghai Port in Yangtze River, Taicang, Changshu, Nantong, Jiangyin, Zhangjiagang, Jingjiang, Taizhou, Yangzhou, Zhenjiang, Nanjing, Ma An Shan , Wuhan, Yibin, etc.

    As per Art. 51 of the Law, “It is prohibited to transport highly toxic chemicals and other dangerous chemicals forbidden to be transported by inland river in the Yangtze River Basin.”

    As per Art. 90 of the Law, “Those who violate the provisions of this law, transport those highly toxic chemicals and other dangerous chemicals forbidden to be transported by inland river in the Yangtze River Basin, shall be ordered by the competent department of transportation or the MSA* at or above the county level to correct their action, their illegal gains shall be confiscated and they shall be fined not less than CNY200,000 but not more than CNY 2.0 million, and the persons in charge and other directly responsible persons shall be fined not less than CNY 50,000 but not more than CNY 100,000. If the circumstances are serious, they shall be ordered to suspend their business for rectification or have their relevant business license revoked.”

    In order to implement the Law, Shanghai MSA issued a Notice on 18 Feb 2021 (see Annex I, hereafter referred as “Notice”) on the ban in the Shanghai section of Yangtze River , in which Shanghai MSA elaborated on the restriction of “Highly toxic chemicals” and “Other dangerous chemicals forbidden to be transported by inland river”.

    According to the Notice, the “Highly toxic chemicals” referred to in the Law are those chemicals marked as "highly toxic" in the remarks column of the Catalogue of Hazardous Chemicals (2015 Edition) formulated by the General Administration of Safety Supervision in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (See Annex II).

    Regarding the “Other dangerous chemicals forbidden to be transported by inland river”, they are the chemicals listed in the Catalogue of Prohibited Dangerous Chemicals by Inland River ( 2019 Edition) formulated by the Ministry of Transport in conjunction with the Ministry of Ecological Environment (see Annex III). According to this Catalogue, 228 types of dangerous chemical cargo are totally forbidden to be transported by inland river regardless of its packing and the other 85 types of dangerous chemical cargo are forbidden to be transported by inland river in bulk.

    According to Shanghai MSA, the object of punishment mainly refers to the carrier who transports the prohibited goods in the Yangtze River in violation of the Law. However, if the carrier transports the goods without the knowledge of what is actually being transported because the shipper or the cargo owner falsely declares the prohibited goods, the MSA will also punish the shipper according to the regulations. Meanwhile, the Law is applicable to the export, import, transit and transfer of the aforesaid forbidden goods in the Yangtze River Basin.

    Before accepting the booking of chemicals for shipment which will be transported in the Yangtze River Basin, Owners or carriers should take relevant measures to verify whether the shipment belongs to the Catalog mentioned above, including requesting the shipper/client to submit exact cargo information, customs code, UN No., CAS code, technical specification and relevant license of the shipment. If the nature of the chemical goods is not clear before transportation, the concerned party is suggested to appoint a qualified third‐party inspection institute for identification of the cargo or to liaise with the local MSA (via agent) to have the cargo verified.

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