13.11.3   Theft
As container transport has developed, so has container crime, i.e. methods and techniques are applied either to purloin whole containers or to obtain illegal access to the container contents.
Theft of containers:
  • Containers on trucks are stolen during the drivers' sleep or meal breaks.
  • Or they are misdirected just before reaching their destination by bogus officials.
  • Forged papers are also used to obtain release of the containers from the container terminal.
  • Employees of the transport companies or the importers themselves are often involved.
  • Important details about the transport route of containers can also be discovered by hackers, who hack into other people's computer networks.
Theft of container contents:
  • Containers are broken open, the cargo taken and the point of entry rewelded and painted over, leaving the container seal undamaged.
  • If the container seal is broken open, it is replaced or repaired or grease is smeared on it to make it indecipherable.
  • The procedure whereby the broken seal is replaced with a new seal with the correct number is known as the twin-seal trick.
  • Padlocks have been broken open, parts of the cargo taken and the padlocks replaced with copies. It was thus impossible to determine when and where during transport the theft occurred. The fundamental problem here is that it is not uncommon for containers to spend days in the same place at terminals, on chassis or elsewhere without any supervision.
  • Often, only a proportion of the cargo is taken, so the consignee thinks he has been short-shipped.
  • If the entire container cargo is stolen, it is replaced with cement, bricks or barrels.

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