Hapag-Lloyd to halt waste shipments to China

FILE PHOTO: A Hapag-Lloyd container is pictured at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg Germany July 26, 2018. Picture taken July 26, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

FRANKFURT/BEIJING (Reuters) - German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd HLAG.DE said it had notified customers it will stop accepting cargoes of solid waste, including scrap metal, bound for China that arrive from Sept. 1 onwards to comply with new legislation.

China in April passed a law, taking effect in September, that holds carriers and importers responsible for the return and disposal of solid waste that fails to meet import requirements.

It plans a blanket ban on solid waste imports by end-2020 for environmental reasons.

“This legislation is applicable to all solid waste cargo such as waste paper, waste plastics, waste metals, waste chemicals etc,” said a June 12 Hapag-Lloyd notice to customers, a copy of which a company spokesman provided in an email.

Any violation “will result in a customs-ordered return of shipment and possible fine may be imposed,” it added.

Hapag-Lloyd is the latest shipping line to confirm it will stop accepting China-bound solid waste shipments after MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company said it earlier this month it had instructed its shipping agents worldwide to reject such bookings.

Solid waste purchased under approved quotas can still enter China by the end of the year but the prompt action by shipping lines raises the prospect of disruption to supply in the latter months of 2020.

Reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt and Tom Daly in Beijing; editing by Barbara Lewis