The supply chain industry is now facing a problem of historic proportions. The pandemic has caused record delays in vessel schedules and a lack of empty equipment accompanied by the deficit of truck drivers.
The war conflict in Ukraine has also caused severe disruption of established trade routes and practices, while sudden quarantine shutdowns in Chinese ports constantly threaten to shatter the more or less recovering schedule.
But surprisingly, carriers are not the ones who suffer the most. The biggest container shipping lines are actually on their way to report the highest profit ever. As per estimation by Blue Alpha Capital, in 2022, their net income will likely reach $256 billion.
Who suffers the most
Those who feel the main blow are shippers and consignees. Perishable products and seasonal goods don’t make it to the market in time. Factories halt production due to lack of supply. Even when the cargo finally arrives at a major port, it can get stuck in line for customs clearance or final delivery.
The last drop is demurrage. In an attempt to urge consignees to empty their containers, the lines have increased demurrage charges. But this has made the situation even worse, because now the tremendous fines make some consignees abandon the goods in the port altogether.
One of the latest examples of the unthinkable sums the traders have to pay is the case of Eucatex Company reported in The Loadstar blog. The company sued CMA CGM after they had to pay 270.000 dollars in demurrage for a batch of 43 containers. Eucatex stated that the cargo idling in the port was not their fault. However, their attempts to negotiate a discount or at least get a detailed bill from the line were unsuccessful.
In this case, Eucatex covered the demurrage and sued the line afterwards. But how many companies can afford to pay that much? The cost of demurrage in some cases can exceed the price of the cargo itself. For some companies it becomes pointless to take the cargo at all. This often happens to businesses in less developed countries that order cheaper goods.
In the beginning of September of 2021, the Nigerian news-site The Nation reported that port authorities and cargo operators urged the country’s president to issue a decree allowing the auctioning of more than 6000 abandoned containers with goods. They claimed the abandoned cargo was paralyzing the port’s operations and damaging the economy.
A source close to Nigerian customs reported that the approximate cost of goods in the containers was around $5 million dollars. Just imagine the losses suffered by the cargo owners.
What can a shipper do to avoid this situation?
The International Federation of Freight Forwarders (FIATA) and the insurers TT Club recommend performing due diligence when signing contracts; they also insist shippers should insure their responsibility in order to use the insurance money for covering losses.
Also, there are new ways to re-sell abandoned cargo before demurrage piles up, and B2B Discount is one of them. Our platform is an online marketplace with more than 20.000 users from around the world and its goal is to help traders find new buyers for their abandoned goods without much trouble.
Users need to register and put the cargo on offer at 5% to 90% discount. The offer has to be supported by a photo of shipping documents and the cargo, but that’s it. Even if the cargo is not officially abandoned yet, but you doubt a consignee’s intentions, you can use B2B Discount as insurance and post the offer anonymously.
The current turbulence in the supply chain industry will not end completely in the foreseeable future. So we recommend you use any method that will help you avoid giant demurrage fines or legal problems caused by abandoned cargo.