Cargo and Freight Disposal – The Facts

Almost four billion tonnes of cargo is moved through EU ports each year. But not all cargo reaches its intended destination. Many cargo and freight containers are undeliverable, unclaimed, abandoned, seized, or are found to contain illegal and counterfeit goods.

So, what happens to cargo and freight when it is unclaimed or needs to be disposed of?

As mentioned, there are many reasons why cargo and freight may be unclaimed or seized. Once it is suspected that cargo will need to be stored pending claim, shipping logistics providers will store the cargo for a designated number of days. For shipped goods, this is 45 days and 20 days for goods imported by other means¹. Once these days are up, the goods are considered officially unclaimed. From here, many things could happen to that unclaimed cargo and freight:

– The shipping containers may be sold to third parties

– The cargo may be auctioned off

– The containers will be destroyed by a cargo and freight disposal service provider, such as Shred Station

– If the cargo has been seized by Border Forces, HMRC, or the National Crime Agency, it is forfeited to the crown and kept at the Queen’s Warehouses. Once no longer needed for evidence, the cargo and freight containers are destroyed.

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In 2017, 49,868,000 tonnes of goods were handled in London ports alone². It’s uncertain how many of these goods were eventually destroyed and, unfortunately, with many cargo and freight disposal services, goods are destroyed and sent straight to landfill.

How does Shred Station keep cargo and freight disposal green?

Shred Station has a zero to landfill policy. Where possible, we also separate materials collected from freight and shipping containers so they can be recycled. Where materials can’t be separated, they are either turned into Refuse Derived Fuel or are incinerated under strict controls at Energy from Waste plants. The energy generated in the incineration process is then fed back into the National Grid. Shred Station is proud to be a CarbonNeutral® certified company, and our cargo and freight disposal services are kept as green as possible too. Our trucks are eco-friendly ensuring minimal emissions are released during transit. We also optimise our transport routes to ensure maximum fuel efficiency.

If you are looking for a secure, eco-friendly, and safe way of disposing of cargo and freight, we can help. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.


To read more about the articles cited in this blog, visit the links below.
¹ – Notice 199: Imported goods, customs procedures and customs debt – click here.
² – Gross weight of goods handled in each port, by direction – click here.


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