Ever Given After Effects. Risk of Cargo Theft

Since the Ever Given blockage of the Suez Canal has been cleared, ports are awaiting an onslaught of vessels and containers. Port of Rotterdam alone has to handle at least 196,600 TEU within few weeks period  while the port of Singapore is bracing itself to receive the 370,000 TEU, currently en route.

Read more about Marine and Cargo Claims Recoveries in Germany

Once containers are discharged from vessels, they are stacked within the port area awaiting port and customs clearance, or loading onto other vessels. Handlers and gantries are then sometimes required to move several containers in order to access the container that is due to be loaded onto trucks or wagons for inland transportation. However, with limited space within the port area to move containers around, this is going to prove a massive challenge for ports to overcome.

Inland Transportation Impact

As ports attempt to clear this mounting backlog, transporters are bracing for the impact too. Colossal  bottlenecks of trucks and wagons queue  at ports while waiting to collect containers destined for inland locations. This will cause further disruption and delays as trucks will have to wait for the containers to be located, others shifted in order to access the assigned container, then loaded, and with limited space to shift containers, trucks may be further delayed while other containers are cleared and removed from port.

We also expect a number of cargo  claims for mysterious container disappearance, when carriers are not able to locate containers for an extended period of time. 

Cargo theft

With the congestion will come increased traffic to ports and surrounding areas, making theft of cargo a very real possibility. As Mike Yarwood, director of loss prevention at insurer TT Club, rightly mentioned: “Whether it simply be at an overspill holding or storage area, or temporary warehousing, wherever and whenever cargo is not moving, it is more likely to be stolen.”

Our advice to consignees and shippers 

There are many ways to ensure shippers do not bear losses for cargo theft. We will share 3 ways that an importer can do today to win a cargo loss  claim. 

1. Liaise closely with shipping line if your containers are headed to ports which are going to be affected by the influx of vessels and containers: Constant communication with carriers will allow a paper trail to develop in order to prove that every effort was made on behalf of the consignee or shipper to mitigate demurrage accruing. It will also assist you to arrange inland transportation accordingly. 

2. Liaise closely with reliable inland transporters. Beware of fake – ghost, non insured trucking companies.  Request your transporter to ensure the bolt seal on the container door is secure.  To examine  if there  are no signs of container tampering  and that the number on the seal is the same as on the documentation provided. Before gating out container from the port, the transporter should physically check the outside of the  container for any defects and insist that, if a cut, bent, tamper sign  is found, it is noted on the EIR before  gating out the container of the port. 

Ensure that cargo is delivered by the truck driver to a clearly designated place and person to avoid any fraud. 

3. Send  notification to shipping line within 3 days of delivery: Whether you suspect your cargo is pilfered  or not, it is always wise to send notification of potential theft to a carrier. Legally this document serves as a notification of loss in due form and invitation to joint survey. 

While all eyes are still on Ever Given, exporters and importers should focus on what they can truly control today. Anticipating cargo theft in heavily congested ports, during inland transportation, being aware of demurrage risks and constantly  communicating  with shipping line, inland carrier can substantially reduce cargo theft risk.  In case of cargo theft or mysterious container disappearance  act fast to collect evidence and ensure the liable carrier pays your claim without delay.