The results of a recent survey conducted by the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in conjunction with an international trade association have served to underline the challenges associated with container security and theft from containers.
The recent survey of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) membership found that thefts occurred from consignments carried by all of the major container shipping lines, on shipments originating in many countries.
IMB noted that the common factor was that the thefts occurred in consignments almost exclusively bound for southern China- though this is more a reflection of the fact that the country is by far and away the biggest importer of scrap metals. Losses were however also reported in other parts of the world.
IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan said: "We share the concerns of the BIR over the scale and nature of the theft of scrap metals in certain parts of the world. The results reveal that all too often valuable cargoes - notably copper scrap exports- are removed from shipping containers before they reach their intended recipients. The reported losses run into millions of dollars, with one BIR member reporting losses in excess of USD 1 million in a 12 month trading period."
Most of the respondents reported that usually a small proportion of the goods carried in the containers were stolen, often between one and five percent of the total container-load, though there were cases where entire container loads had gone missing.