On 26 November 2020, the Business Registration Regulation for Freight Forwarding Services was published. The Regulation aims to improve the quality of freight forwarding services in Maldives and standardise the industry and will be enforced by the Registrar of Businesses. The key areas of the Regulation are as follows:
- The Regulation applies to business service providers who issue Bill of Ladings (BLs) and delivery orders (DOs) for imported goods and provide other freight forwarding services.
- The Regulation is not applicable to any entity within the purview of the Shipping Agency Regulation.
- If the company or partnership applying for the license has breached a Maldivian law or regulation, such a breach must be resolved before a license can be obtained.
- The license cannot be transferred to another company or partnership.
Requirements for registration
- All the businesses providing freight forwarding services must be registered with the Ministry of Economic Development.
- The business must be registered either as a company, partnership, cooperative society or sole proprietorship under the Business Registration Act1.
- If the entity providing the services is a foreign entity, necessary permits must be obtained accordingly with the Law on Foreign Investments in the Maldives2.
- Any entity providing freight forwarding services without registration will incur a fine between MVR 1,000 and MVR 10,000.
Businesses currently in operation
Businesses currently providing freight forwarding services must apply for registration by 26 December 2020 – 30 days from publication of the Regulation.
The Regulation controls the prices of the services provided by the businesses. Imposing a charge higher than the amounts stipulated in the Regulation is prohibited.
- The following price controls will be applicable for the services provided by the businesses registered under the Regulation.
- MVR 771 as the DO charge for BLs equivalent to full containers or contains more Cubic Metres (CBM) than a full container.
- MVR 385.5 as the DO charge for BL’s that contains less than a full container.
- MVR 385.5 for any other DO charge.
- MVR 385.5 for any amendment to the DO charge.
- Fines will be imposed on businesses that contravene the price controls.
The Regulation is effective from 26 November 2020.