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U.S. container inspections reveal mis-declared cargo and poor stowage

     Loading containers on ship

During recent random inspections, the U.S.-based National Cargo Bureau (NCB) discovered a number of ocean containers with mis-declared and improperly packaged cargo, during recent random inspections.

The NCB, which normally inspects export containers leaving the U.S., offered to do free inspections on a sample of containers, including imports.  A mixture of containers carrying dangerous goods and general cargo, both imports to and exports from U.S., were examined and the findings were quite shocking.

Of the 500 containers inspected, 55% failed inspection with one or more deficiencies; 49% of the import containers containing dangerous goods failed; and 38% of export containers containing dangerous goods failed. 

Of the import containers with dangerous goods, 44% had problems with the way cargo was secured, 39% had improper placarding and 8% had misdeclared cargo.  Of the export containers with dangerous goods, 25% had securing issues, 15% were improperly placarded and 5% were mis-declared. 

For containers failing inspection, fixing the problem may be very costly.  Documentation may have to be revised and a container may have to be retrieved from a terminal and repackaged – not to mention the potential fines or penalties that could be levied by federal authorities and or steamship lines for mis-declared cargo.

The findings clearly illustrate the magnitude of the problem as well as the value of cargo inspections.  It is imperative that shippers clearly understand the importance of accurate declarations as well as proper stowage, as they will be liable for any issues that result from non-compliance.

For more information, contact David Lychek, Manager – Ocean & Air Services.

Quick Tip #58
Be prepared for customs penalties and fines under AMPS

Never assume that the absence of an audit means you will never be audited.  Penalties under AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) can be applied at the border at time of import (or export) and also post audit.

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