Unclaimed Freight Furniture Considerations:
Now I have gone into some detail about what is unclaimed freight furniture, but there are a few other things to consider. The idea of rushing out and buying up unclaimed containers isn’t that easy.
Recently, shows such as ‘Container Wars’ have greatly increased the idea of you rushing out and buying an abandoned container, with hopes of finding a fortune inside.
This has increased the cost often to purchase these. They also tend to give people the impression that they are actually many more unclaimed freight containers sitting in warehouses that is actually not the case.
Well first off all it really depends where the container originated. If it was from overseas it will need to clear US Customs. If it hasn’t then it technically belongs to the US government and they will decide what to do with it. Their main goal is to recovered important taxes and such, based off the shipments value.
In this case it is the US Customs, not the bonded warehouse that will get rid of it. This is usually done by public auction. In the condensed version of the process it goes like this. Importers have 20 days from arrival to get the cargo cleared by Customs.
At the fifteen day mark they will be notified that the good will be subject to general order. Customs will file a Permit to Transfer any cargo that hasn’t been cleared in the proper window.
From there it gets moved to a general warehouse; this is when the shipping company can file any liens in hopes to cover their costs (shipping handling, storage, and such. Unless the cargo is perishable or some kind of health hazard it must remain there for six months.
This time can be used by the original owner of the cargo to pay all past due fines, fees, penalties, interests, and other costs, after which they can then reclaim and take proper possession of their cargo.
However, if at the end of this six month window no one has laid claim it can go up for auction. Any proceeds from the sale of the cargo first go to cover the government’s end.
Then they pay the storage and other fees accrued by the warehouse. Whatever is left is used to pay the shipping company.
Now, freight can clear Customs and still become unclaimed at the next step of shipping it. Once it has cleared Custom it can only remain on site for a limited period of time, usually this is ten days.
If nothing has been done with the cargo within that time the carrier must make every effort to contact the proper parties as listed on the ‘bill of lading’ (and provide instruction on its removal).
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If the container has not been collected and transported away (or other arrangements made) the carrier must obtain what is called an ‘abandon and indemnification letter’.
This is an official declaration confirming that the cargo will be abandoned and that ownership has been released. Once the shipping company gets this they have several options of what they can do with the cargo:
- They can unpack the cargo and put the container back into service
- Relocate the container into a bonded storage area
- Auction and/or sell the freight (allowing them to pay off any accrued debt)
- Ship the cargo back to where it originated
- They can dispose of it (especially if it perishable or harmful)
- Of course this is all time consuming and adds unwanted cost to the shipping company.
As I mentioned earlier, shipping containers can be abandoned for a wide array of reasons. The most common is the business went under or filed bankruptcy. Often when this happens many things get forgotten or overlooked, freight being one of the things to fall to the side.
Disputes are another common reason why freight gets unclaimed. These are usually between the shipping company and the customer, or with the freight broker, the freight forwarder, even the consignee.
Remember time is money in the shipping business and any delay can cost the company a substantial amount of money. As these cost increase it simply get too expensive. Often the expenses reach a point where it is easier and cheaper to just abandon it.
Now if you are thinking about buying up some unclaimed freight and hoping to make your fortune it isn’t that simple. You must be familiar with the law (each state is different, and the federal law). Each shipping company has their own set protocol as well. Now when a shipping company decides to get rid of a container (or the cargo inside) they have one intention in mind and that is the recovering of their cost.
Anything they make after that is a bonus. Sometimes there are more parties involved, banks, lien holders, and other interested parties.
This is especially true when bankruptcy is involved. After all they want to get their investment back as well.
So if you are still interested in buying and selling unclaimed freight the best place to start would be to track down the appropriate person within the shipping company. Sometimes you can do this by simply calling the company, other times you will need to know who to ask for.
So do some research and keep in mind no two companies will handle this exactly the same way. That means you will need to learn the protocol for each shipping company you are trying to deal with.
So while you are thinking over your options and wishing to decorate your new office you’ll need to shop around. Here is a list of 25 places where you can go to buy your unclaimed freight furniture. Hope you find what you’re looking for!
25 Locations to Buy Unclaimed Freight Furniture
1. Unclaimed Freight Furniture – Discount Furniture & Mattress Deals at American Freight
Since 1993 American Freight Furniture and Mattress has grown to be one of the nation’s largest outlets. They offer a great selection of discount furniture in their low-key warehouse style showrooms.