Misdeclared Freight

A major problem that occurs in the international container shipping industry involves shippers who misdeclare their cargo properly. All shippers, prior to the pickup for their shipment, must disclose to the carrier or freight forwarder all of the details about the shipment. In addition, these details will have to be disclosed anyways in order to get an instant container shipping quote.
A misdeclaration of the cargo could involve any aspect of the freight, including the weight, commodity, description, quantity and measurements. A shipper has a personal obligation and a responsibility to give these correct details. However, in the industry, there are numerous occurances of inaccurate information provided by the shipper. The Journal of Commerce recently reported that the 50% of cases that were disruptive to the shipping carriers resulted from misdeclared containers. There are stories all of the time in shipping about vessels that are overturned in the water because of containers that weighed significantly more than was declared. Sometimes the commodity is misdeclared, and this could result in a fire on the ship. The point is that misdeclared cargo puts the lives of the crew in danger and is a big financial burden.
Shippers might misdeclare because of laziness or because they want to save money by showing a weight that is lower. Shippers must pay an administrative fee for each misdelcared container. In the future, the International Maritime Organization might force carriers to weigh all containers before departure to better catch this problem that is plaguing the shipping industry.