Counterfeit Shipping Containers

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (via Border Watch) are currently warning Importers on the importance of being vigilant.

A counterfeit shipping container (also known as a fake, cloned or re-birthed container) is a container that has had its unique identifier erased from its exterior and replaced with that of another legitimate containers unique identifier.

Recently an importer when unpacking two containers found, not the goods ordered, but instead the containers filled with cheap brick pavers.  The whole containers were substituted and counterfeited.

We were told that this particular incident was a very primitive attempt as the containers in question were very old and in poor condition. So the possibility for a more widespread sophisticated operation cannot be underestimated.

The attached indicator sheet will assist with identifying this type of border related offence. This highlights another method of security fraud and the financial vulnerability that may be incurred by the importer and / or licensed customs broker.

These are the key identifiers when looking for a fake shipping container:

  • Repainted display numbers;
  • alterations to corner castings;
  • display numbers do not match plate or casting number;
  • evidence of grinding of the corner casting;
  • original numbers partially hidden or showing through;
  • container safety plate or manufacturers plate damaged, altered or replaced;
  • any evidence of an attempt to replace serial numbers; and
  • incorrect placement of container number

Source credit – Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) along with the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA)