Transhipping is an activity that emerged during the 1970s and 1980s. It involves grouping the orders of several retailers and/or wholesalers and placing them with an exporter, collecting the shipment at the airport, clearing customs and redistributing the boxes without opening

Divers' breathing equipment (hookahs) on deck.

Transhippers Fish

Boxes at the airport.

Divers' breathing equipment (hookahs) on deck.

Boxes at the airport.

them . The responsibility for the entire shipment falls onto the retailer. All transhippers require to operate is a telephone, fax and vehicles to pick up shipments upon arrival. Where additional services, beyond picking up the consignment, clearing customs and transport are required, the activity is referred to as 'consolidating'39. In the latter case, a more complete service is provided whereby the transhipper takes responsibility for the fish during a 48-hour period following delivery and offers refunds for any animals that died during transport39.

Increasingly, particularly in Europe, transhippers are required to hold a licence in order to operate39. However, no skills with respect to fish handling are necessary to obtain such a licence. Transhippers do not need large facilities to acclimatize marine fish, and so they can afford to sell individuals at half the price that wholesalers would charge. Despite severe criticism about the quality of transhipped invertebrates and non-acclimatized fish these businesses are expanding in Europe, unlike in the United States where increased commercial use of the Internet has led to a decline in the number of transhippers11. In response to criticism, and to abide by the Marine Aquarium Council Standards and Certification^, transhippers are transforming their businesses to be able to provide increased quality and services.

Despite the advent of transhipping and consolidating, established wholesalers who are able to maintain a core set of customers as retailers are only able to import directly through transhippers if they have both authorization from the veterinary services and the required and appropriate equipment/infrastructure for acclimatization . Moreover, the results of a survey of US marine ornamental wholesalers revealed that firms in states outside Florida believed there was a growing market for small environmentally conscious companies53.

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    How to obtain a transshipper license?
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