NEW YORK Shippers of raw
materials have seen a dramatic increase in thefts from
containers in China, an indirect result of the countrys
Operation Green Fence crackdown on scrap imports.
Several exporters indicated that
as China steps up inspections of scrap imports, customs
officials are putting "knock-off" locking devices on containers
following an inspection, compromising the integrity of the
"You go through all the trouble
to secure a load, and customs decides they want to look in the
container and then put a really cheap seal back on," one
exporter told AMM. "Its frustrating because it
eliminates the precautions that we have put in place."
In an effort to mitigate the
risks associated with customs inspections, some shippers to
China have begun to include a second locking systemand
instructions for proper installation of the devicein an
envelope inside the container.
"If officials demand a physical
inspection, customs has the right to break the seal," said Ray
Fernandez, vice president of sales for Sealock Security Systems
Inc., a Miami-based company that provides tamper-evident
locking and sealing systems to the shipping industry.
"Equipping containers with a secondary seal and locking system
is the best way to ensure the integrity of the shipment once it
moves on from the port."
If a container leaves the port
of entry with a properly installed sealing and locking system,
the chances of theft are dramatically reduced, Fernandez said.
"In order to properly protect loads, shippers need to realize
that both doors on the container need to be protected
simultaneously. The device needs to be easy to apply, difficult
to defeat and have built-in tamper-evident features."
Bolt locksthe most common
form of locking systems used by shippersare no longer
sufficient if used on a stand-alone basis, shippers said.
Several sources said they are now using bolt locks in
conjunction with a variety of other devices, including cable
locks, tamper-evident door seals and locking bars, to protect
"We have identified eight ways
that criminals can gain entry into a container in under 30
seconds for shipments that are secured with a single bolt
lock," Fernandez said. "It seems that today, even with a huge
increase in theft, some exporters dont seem to have a
clue. They are operating under a false sense of security and
are continually paying the price."
"Over the past six months,
weve taken various courses of action to secure our
overseas shipments," said Robert Voss, managing director of
United Kingdom-based Voss International Ltd. "Weve
improved the quality of seals and are making sure that we are
sealing both doors together. Essentially, we want to make it so
incredibly difficult to gain access that thieves will move on
to the next container."