As the shipping industry prepares for the release of new Incoterms rules in 2020, the International Chamber of Commerce has issued a warning of false information being published on websites and unauthorised training sessions being offered to shipping companies.

The ICC said that the Incoterms 2020 rules have not been officially released, so it is not possible for anyone but the Chamber to be in a position to provide accurate information or relevant training.

International commercial terms, or Incoterms rules, are a commonly accepted set of definitions and rules governing commercial trade activity.

Many companies and unofficial websites are speculating about what the changes are going to be. Assuming that speculative predictions are factually correct could result in widespread disruption and lead to costly errors for businesses, according to the ICC.

The bogus companies have been offering information and training based on annual updates from 2011 through to 2019. However, the last official update of Incoterms was in 2010, and those rules still apply until the updated rules come into force on 1 January 2020. The first release of the new rules will be in the last quarter of 2019.

The ICC said that the best way to identify websites promoting deceptive Incoterms rules, information and training sessions is to look for references to the ICC and its registered trademark symbol ‘Incoterms®’. If there is no mention of the ICC in the content, then the website could well be false, claimed the ICC.

The 2020 release follows a two-year updating process by an ICC expert drafting group comprising lawyers, traders and company representatives from around the world.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) was founded 100 years ago this year, and in 1923, worked to create a global system of rules to govern trade. The founding members were a group of businessmen who saw the opportunity to create an industry standard that would become known as the Incoterms rules.


The Incoterms rules

The Incoterms rules have become an essential part of the daily language of trade. They have been incorporated into contracts for the sale of goods worldwide and provide rules and guidance to importers, exporters, lawyers, transporters, insurers and students of international trade.

The 11 Current Incoterms

All transport modes

  • EXW – Ex Works
  • FCA – Free Carrier
  • CPT – Carriage Paid To
  • CIP – Carriage and Insurance Paid To
  • DAT – Delivered At Terminal
  • DAP – Delivered At Place
  • DDP – Delivered Duty Paid

Rules for Sea and Inland Waterways

  • FAS – Free Alongside Ship
  • FOB – Free On Board
  • CFR – Cost and Freight
  • CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers