Supply chain congestion and widespread delays in the international container trade is set to continue - TT Club

The potential catastrophic impact arising from the deterioration of abandoned cargo cannot be disregarded as a remote risk, according to TT Club. 

Increased risks of safety and regulatory infraction are inevitable, it warns, as well as significant demand on management and operational resources to resolve individual cases.

“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.”

There are a number of ‘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 role of enforcement agencies and the responsibilities of others involved in the supply chain needs to be considered.

“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,” concludes 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.”