What Happens if an Importer Does Not Clear a Cargo?

Do you ever wonder what happens to cargo if an importer does not clear it? In that case, this article is for you. Read on to find the answers that you have been looking for.


Importer vs. Consignee: What’s the Difference?


To answer the question, you first need to understand what an importer is and what they do. Most of the time, an importer is often confused with a consignee. But, they are different.


An importer refers to a firm or individual authorized by the government to bring goods into a country. They are responsible for accomplishing all the necessary legal documents and custom clearance producers for the items that they are importing.


However, importers can resell cargo to a third party even if it has yet to arrive. This means that it’s possible for them to be not the final buyer, and the cargo title is transferred to somebody else once the goods arrive.


On the contrary, a consignee refers to a firm or individual as the shipper for the cargo cosigns. This could be the importer or somebody else, which is why these two titles are often confused with each other. It’s not also required for a consignee to be a government-registered importer.


What Happens if an Importer Does Not Clear a Cargo?


Now that you know the role of an importer, what happens if they do not clear a cargo?


Importers have to file a Bill of Entry with the customs department within 30 days of the good’s arrival at the discharge port.


If the importer does not clear a cargo, it will be considered abandoned goods and will accrue demurrage. Cargos that are not moving can lead to a loss of money for all the stakeholders involved. Thus, they become burdens to the freight forwarder or shipping lines, who often can’t afford to hold on to the goods for an extended period.


So, where will the cargo go when it has become abandoned? These are the two common things that will happen:


  • It will be seized by customs if the goods in the cargo are legal. It will then be auctioned off to compensate for its charges.
  • The cargo custodian will resell the goods to compensate for the fees incurred. They have to notify the importer about reselling the cargo.


Final Words


One of the common reasons why importers are unable to clear cargo is because they are unaware of it arriving at the port of destination. There could be plenty of reasons why this is the case; either the shipper did not send the shipping advice, or the importer did not receive a Cargo Arrival Notice.


Regardless, it’s the responsibility of the importer to track their goods and know when it’s time for them to file a Bill of Entry. If this is not done within 30 days from the arrival at the destination port, customs or the shipping line can auction off the goods to compensate for the incurred fees.