While major cargo shippers are going to the FMC with their irritations over port delays and rising detention and demurrage charges, shippers at the lower end of the spectrum may take another approach—walking away from cargo that’s arrived late and incurring mounting costs.
With supply chain congestion and widespread delays in the international container trades continuing, the challenges of abandoned cargo look set to increase. Risk prevention advisor and mutual insurer, TT Club has issued a StopLoss document to provide practical guidance on the issue to stakeholders across the supply chain.
“Levels of cargo abandonment have always been problematic to forwarders, NVOCs, logistics operators and, of course container terminals,” comments Peregrine Storrs-Fox, TT’s risk management director. “The surge in container demand over recent months has however compounded container ship capacity issues, port congestion and consequent severe transit delays. These factors will do little to alleviate the practice of cargo interests—in circumstances of loss of market for goods or bankruptcy—simply relinquishing ownership of consignments.”
Those left with the responsibility of removing and/or disposing of the goods and returning the container to the appropriate carrier, are in need of guidance and TT’s StopLoss publication Abandonment of cargo: Avoiding the pitfalls is designed to deliver just that.
It identifies “red flags” that forwarders, logistics operators and carriers should consider—certain commodities such as waste, scrap, materials for recycling and personal effects—previously unknown shippers, particularly individuals rather than companies. Furthermore, once the cargo is defined as abandoned, the StopLoss outlines the role of enforcement agencies and the responsibilities of others involved in the supply chain.
“Above all the value of our guidance lies in mitigating the risks associated with abandonment and recommended actions outlined in methodical steps and a ten-point checklist,” says Storrs-Fox. “There needs to be a greater understanding of why cargo is abandoned and how it is handled in order to restrict the growth of a serious trend leading to increased safety and cost ramifications.”