Convention on Customs Treatment of Pool Containers used in International Transport

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 17/01/1998



Sub category

Exemption from Duties



What is it about?

Goods are frequently transported internationally in reusable containers. Following delivery, these containers can be refilled with more goods for further transport. The 1994 Convention encourages container operators to join a common usage pool to reduce the transport of empty units. Operators joining the common usage pool agree to the system of equivalent compensation. This system allows the exportation or importation of a container of the same type or of another container previously imported or exported. Operators maximize efficiency by sharing their containers. Contracting parties to the 1994 Convention agree to allow the admission of containers free of import duties or taxes, without import prohibitions or restrictions of an economic character or limitations for use in internal traffic and do not require customs documents or security.

Why is it relevant?

Containers are an essential element of international commerce. Their usage represents approximately 80 percent of the total movement of goods in maritime transport. This Convention permits contracting parties to develop their international trade by creating a customs regime favouring to use of pool containers.

Additional Information

A Management Committee is in charge of examining the implementation of this Convention and studying amendment projects proposed by State Parties. Its Secretariat is maintained by the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE/UN), which has its headquarters located in Geneva.

  • International Convention on Containers (Geneva, 2 December 1972)


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