A new initiative aimed at tackling the problem of counterfeiting in the maritime sector, has been welcomed by the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA).

The industry trade body says the new Know Your Customer (KYC) Best Practices* heralds a significant step forward in the battle to thwart the volume of counterfeits shipped around the world.

The KYC lays down a voluntary framework of steps maritime companies can take to ensure they know even more about who is shipping products on their vessels.

According to a report by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the value of global trade in counterfeit goods in 2013 amounted to US $461 billion.

It is estimated by the OECD that the total economic and social costs globally due to counterfeiting and piracy worldwide is expected to rise to more than US $1.8 trillion by 2022.

All those involved in the global supply chain, including brand owners, vessel operators, freight shipping companies and trade authorities, will benefit from an initiative that tackles the ‘massive’ global counterfeiting issue, says the IHMA.

The initiative also highlights the measures that can be taken to deal with the problem, which can include increasing adoption of track and trace systems featuring hologram technologies.

Manoj Kochar, chair of the IHMA, said counterfeiting is a big problem for the shipping industry, but the KYC can be seen as step in the right direction in stemming the impact and securing global jobs.

“This so-called historic ‘Declaration of Intent to stop the Maritime transport of counterfeits’ is a further reminder that the war on counterfeiting remains far from won, and global brands and profits need to be protected,” said Manoj Kochar.

“Global brand owners and maritime companies will see off the back of this latest initiative how relatively low cost yet effective hologram technologies can be of benefit,” he says.

“When included as part of a supply chain track and trace system, for example, holograms are to the fore as weapons in tackling counterfeiting and securing authentication.”

Increasing adoption of holography reinforces the technology’s position as a pre-eminent security feature in the global anti-counterfeiting fight.

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated in the ISO12931 standard enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits in the marketplace.

Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.