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ND Alcohol Laws Cause Headaches

Back in August, after implementation of SB 2147, ND authorities announced that FedEx and UPS were approved to ship alcohol to consumers in our state. However, FedEx recently announced they were having difficulty following all the new regulations and stopped shipping as of November 1st.

Their press release reads: “This communication is to confirm that FedEx Express, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will cease transporting alcoholic beverages destined to an address in North Dakota effective immediately. FedEx has been unable to arrive at a solution that would allow compliance with the new law while protecting our customers’ shipping experience. ”

The law requires shippers to electronically report shipments to the state for tracking purposes and tax collection. Shippers are must report, monthly, the name and addresses of alcohol recipients, the type and the quantity of alcohol shipped, and the tracking numbers. This puts a burden on shippers, who must either get their customers to declare these items or start inspecting packages themselves. From FedEx’s perspective, it appears the cost of compliance is too high.

Two types of licenses are also required, a Logistics Shipper License and a Direct Carrier License. FedEx has informed customers that all shipments of alcoholic beverages addressed to locations in North Dakota will be returned to the original shipping location or refused outright. How this will affect out of state suppliers is unknown, but the wine industry may feel the most effects. Wines are typically shipped in case quantities from wineries all over the US to serve both the retail and consumer markets. The rise of online stores and websites that sell and ship wine will also be pinched. UPS is still a viable alternative, but a winery or online retailer may prefer FedEx for its shipping needs and simply forgo selling to anyone in North Dakota rather than switch carriers.

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