COSCO Shipping Lines has issued a statement on its position in relation to the illegal wildlife trade:
“We, as signatory member to the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration, recognizing the devastating impact of illegal wildlife trade, will NOT knowingly facilitate or tolerate the carriage for illegal wildlife trade and will not accept cargo booking for any illegal wildlife related products.”
The move comes after China announced it will close down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, signalling an end to the world’s primary legal ivory market. The General Office of the State Council of China announced that China will cease part of ivory processing and sales by March 31, 2017, and cease all ivory processing and sales by December 31, 2017.
The publication of the timetable stems from a joint commitment that the presidents of China and the United States made during their meeting in Washington in September 2015 to impose near-total ivory bans in their countries. New federal regulations were enacted in the U.S. on July 6, 2016, that almost completely prohibit the domestic ivory trade.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong announced at the end of December that it would phase out the city’s commercial domestic ivory trade by 2021.
United for Wildlife was created by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry of the U.K. The campaign unites the world’s leading wildlife charities to create a global movement for change.
The illegal wildlife trade is valued at between $5-20 billion per year. It is the fourth most lucrative global crime after drugs, humans and arms trafficking.
The illegal wildlife trade fuels instability and criminality in demand and supply countries. Vulnerabilities in transportation and customs capability are being exploited by criminal traffickers to move their products.
One of United for Wildlife’s commitments is to work with the private sector to reduce trafficking, and the organization has established a Transport Taskforce.
As private sector businesses across the entire trade chain may be drawn into the illegal wildlife trade unwittingly, the Taskforce is a way of enabling companies to identify any role they play in the illegal wildlife trade and to look at the ways that the sector can break the chain between suppliers and consumers.
Taskforce members are:
African Airlines Association
Air China Cargo Co. Ltd.
Airports Council International
Baltic and International Maritime Council
China COSCO Shipping Co. Ltd.
China Post Group Corporation
Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Cruise Lines International Association
Danish Shipowners Association
DHL Express UK & Ireland
Dubai Customs World
International Airlines Group
International Air Transport Association
International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners
International Chamber of Shipping
International Maritime Organization
James Fisher Everard
Japanese Shipowners’ Council Ltd.
Liberian Shipowners’ Council Ltd.
South African Airways
Stena Line UK
Sustainable Shipping Initiative
UK Chamber of Shipping
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility
Wildlife Conservation Society
World Customs Organisation
World Wildlife Fund – UK