Smart ways to deal with abandoned cargo

The pain of abandoned cargo after COVID-19 has quadrupled and the logistics industry is struggling to manage it. The main question that arises here is how to deal with the cargo so that the steel shipping containers get freed and justice meets the merchandise that has been left.

Millions of cargoes get transported by maritime shipping containers crossing through many ports, airports, ICD, CFS, and AFS, and other places. The shippers send the goods to the receivers and the receivers have to collect the cargo containers from the ports, stations, or mentioned destinations. But sometimes, the receivers don’t collect the cargo and the abandoned cargo awaits them. Earlier the scenario was there, but the condition worsened when COVID-19 erupted as along with disrupting the functioning of other industries’ it hurt the shipping container industry and shipping industry to the large.

Before diving into the smart ways to deal with the abandoned cargo let’s see what it is!

What are abandoned cargoes?

As per FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, the definition of abandoned cargo is “the consignee [importer] has manifested no intention to take delivery after a reasonable period”.

There are many situations when the receiver doesn’t show up:

  • When the importer denies accepting the metal shipping containers,
  • When they are unreachable

In such cases, after a considerable time, the goods are termed as unclaimed and are considered abandoned. This “reasonable period” for waiting is different for different countries. For the US, this waiting period after unloading the cargo is 90 days for non-perishables and shorter days for perishables. For China, it is 60 days, and so on.

Why are the goods abandoned?

The reasons for the abandoned goods are:

  • Bad quality products or damaged goods
  • Lack of import permit or license
  • Bankruptcy
  • Cannot pay import duty, demurrage and detention charges, or different related charges
  • Delayed shipment and no need for products further
  • Dispute with the sender
  • The harmed useless products
  • Held products due to customs for infringement
  • An abrupt guideline change that prohibits certain goods.

How do authorities deal with the abandoned cargo?

The next question that pops up in our minds is what happens to the abandoned shipment! How are they dealt with? There are certain ways and procedures that they go through. Let’s see them one by one:

  • The authorities confiscate the merchandise and sell them in the auction.
  • In some cases, the importer reclaims the goods, and the freight container returns back.
  • If some other buyer wants to buy the cargo then the authorities send the goods to them.
  • The port people destroy low-value, perishable goods, hazardous items. It is necessary to destroy perishables or hazardous merchandise as it may harm the people working over there.
  • They also scrap their valuable parts in order to cover the damages.

Reasons for cargo delays

There are certain reasons for cargo delays that cause shipment abandonment:

  • Due to bad weather, the steel shipping containers have to stay for longer in the ports and this leads to delays in cargo reaching the importer. The importers when they see the cargo is of no use, they deny it.
  • The port congestion during busy days causes the containers to stay for longer with the cargo leading to delays.
  • Tech malfunctions are one of the reasons for cargo delay.
  • Custom violations also cause shipment delays.

The above-given delay reasons are some of the main causes of shipment abandonment.

Now let’s move our attention to the ways by applying which you can deal with the abandoned cargoes.

  • You should review all contracts, papers, and documents relating to transport services earlier only in order to vary of any surprises later. See the import guideline for the cargoes you are receiving to be clear from the authorities.
  • Avoid getting the tag of “shipper/consignee” for the main Bill of Lading. Thus, when receiving the cargo, if tagged as a shipper you won’t be able to receive the merchandise.
  • If you are tagged as “Agent” then the shipper will be in direct agreement with the carrier line and they have to acknowledge their mutual arrangement in the form of email, booking document, or other. Thus the forwarder can invoke Liability or cargo insurance cover in case of losses.
  • The shippers must identify the “force majeure” clauses. So, in case, if any natural disaster or other conditions erupt then they can be free from timely shipping operations.
  • Open communication between the consumers and the shippers must be there. This lets them inform the customers about any losses or untimely shipping if the situation is outside their control.
  • The shippers/receivers must know they cannot abandon the cargo container without any impact. The forwarders don’t want to burden them with the abandoned costs, that’s why it is necessary to inform the shippers or receivers about the clause. In this, you can also inform them about the detention and demurrage charges that they have to pay if no one collects the freight container.
  • All data should have written records for minimized charges. One can minimize the risk of claims by keeping track of valid written documents.
  • The forwarders must give due attention to the metal shipping containers’ due or new charges. If you are unable to contact the receiver after the arrival of the shipping container then it is an early warning sign that they must give attention to.
  • Do not wait for the situation to escalate to the level that it goes beyond your hand. The shipper/receiver rarely responds in the cases when the price goes higher. So, it’s better to foresee the situation and take steps quickly. You can also contact an insurance company so that you don’t have to bear any extra charges.
  • For no losses, you must see the cargo de-stuffing takes place at Inland Container Depots, Container Freight Stations, Air Freight Stations, or other bonded warehouses. You might be thinking why? The reason for this is if the receiver doesn’t turn up to claim the metal shipping container, then you can sell to the other interested party, auction, or destruct the goods. And if the shippers demand them back then they can re-export it back from there.
  • Most of all being, the freight forwarder must know the situation will not resolve by itself. You will have to be cautious, vigilant, and foresee and analyze all the situations in order to avoid any losses.

Thus, now you know how you can deal with abandoned cargo. So if you are transporting goods to distant places, and in need of freight containers, then contacting LOTUS Containers will help you get the most durable, heavy-duty, and sturdy cargo containers. Being the top shipping container provider, we have been providing shipping boxes of different container dimensions and types with maximum affordability. So, if you want to buy new or used shipping containers in Miami, Ohio, Omaha, and other parts of the USA or the world, you know we are the ones who provide the best.