How to Avoid Snags when Shipping Overseas

maersk shipping line container ship delivering shipping containers from port

Tracking Cargo Around the Globe

If a shipping container could talk, it would have more stories than could last a lifetime. These hardy boxes of steel circle the globe many times over. They deliver raw materials and parts to factories. They bring goods from other continents to your local store. Then, they go back and do it all over again. 

There are certain unavoidable problems during a journey lasting thousands of miles. However, with the help of an experienced team, you will never fall far off track. With fast, real-time data tracking through SiShips, you can rest easy that your cargo is where it needs to be. And, in the unlikely and sometimes unbelievable event something does go wrong, we can help you find the best solution immediately.

Can Items Be Lost when Shipping Overseas?

Yes. It is a small number, but ships will lose containers in transit.

The Atlantic Ocean covers over 41 million square miles. The Pacific Ocean is even bigger at almost 64 million square miles. Not to mention, the Pacific Ocean is over 36,000 feet deep. (That’s the equivalent of 120 Statue of Liberties or 36 Eiffel Towers). The point is, these things are big and they are affected by infinite factors.

Ships traveling from China to the port of Long Beach, and other west coast ports, can be caught in unexpected storms. Container ships are engineered with this in mind, but there are extreme weather conditions that make cargo loss possible. Such was the case with the Tokio Express, which lost sixty-two containers containing children’s toys off the coast of England in 1997. The memory of this incident is still fresh in the minds of locals who continue to find Lego dragons washed ashore 25 years later.

SiShips provides managed transportation for all of our clients, so they can track the location of their cargo, along with providing the best insurance options, at all times.

Do People Use Shipping Containers for Drug Trafficking?

shipping containers after a rain storm

Yes. Drug cartels transport illegal goods across the ocean on container ships.

During a recent expose on the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), journalists Lauren Etter and Michael Riley outlined the issue:

“Although there are international security requirements for shipping companies, customs and law enforcement officials have little power to hold the companies accountable. All of that has allowed the shipping industry, the primary engine of globalization, to escape major consequences as it has become increasingly entangled in drug trafficking.”

Over several decades, the Balkan Cartel had allegedly systematically infiltrated MSC. They had so many of their members employed by the shipping giant that they could run multiple crews simultaneously. The crews would work together to load literal tons of drugs onto the ship while at sea and then later off load it closer to their destination. In 2019, agents raided the Gayane, one of MSC’s ships, when it was at port in Philadelphia. This resulted in one of the largest drug seizures ever and raised eyebrows that MSC was perhaps complicit in the drug trafficking. 

MSC pushed back on the reporting by Bloomberg Businessweek in a press release. They emphasized all of the information had been publicly available for three years. MSC reiterated that they were unaware of the drug trafficking through their ships and they were victims, too.

Stories like this are fascinating to read and discuss, but the consequences for legal businesses and everyday people shipping overseas can be blown out of the water. Simply because your legal freight is on the same ship as drugs or another illegal substance does not mean it can be impounded by authorities. Nor does it affect the condition your freight arrives in. In fact, only rarely does a raid by a federal agency delay the delivery of the non-contraband items onboard.

Can Local Port Congestion affect Shipping Overseas?

Yes. In extreme cases, local port congestion can cause a domino effect that delays overseas shipping.

Even people unfamiliar with the shipping industry are aware of the Ever Given, a container ship that became infamous when it blocked the Suez Canal in 2021. After being hit by a strong wind and dust storm, the container ship ran aground in the canal, blocking passage and freezing global shipping logistics. The ship was unstuck after six days, but the aftershocks were felt worldwide for months after.

Similar delays occurred during coronavirus outbreaks in China and union protests in the United States and Canada. These delays can be catastrophic for freight forwarders if they are not handled proactively. SiShips is not immune to the snags that accompany international freight forwarding, but our unique blend of personal expertise and analytics enable us to provide our clients with better solutions, faster.

container ship seen from the coast of the netherlands rotterdam

How SiShips Gives You the Advantage

Sheltered International combines expertise with state of the art software to bring you quality domestic and international shipping solutions. SiShips puts the shipper in control, offering efficient and cost effective ways to ship your product.

To learn more about managed transportation with SiShips, or to view a demo of our software, contact us today.