Don’t Show Grandma!

Abandoned cargo is a big issue in our industry.

But did you know it’s not just cargo that gets abandoned? Whole ships can too!

In recent weeks, a dozen ships have been abandoned thanks to the knock-on effect of Turkish police arresting shipping magnate Mübariz Mansimov Gurbano.

And it’s not only the ships that are stuck out at sea – their whole crews have been too!

But it got me thinking about the other abandoned cargo stories I’ve shared with you before. We’ve spoken of noodle sauce and t-shirts – but I’ve never actually shared the best one yet.

When I was a young nipper, fresh in the freight industry, I worked for one of the big Japanese shipping lines.

Our offices were located at the Birmingham Container Base – which also had an on-site office for HMRC.

One day, I was called over to the depot to deal with an issue.

On the phone, the customs representative explained to me that some of our cargo didn’t meet UK import regulations and had to be destroyed.

Ok, I thought. Let’s go sort this out…

The thing is, he didn’t tell me what the cargo was or why it wasn’t allowed in.

So I walk up to discover the customs officer stood by the container with a teapot in his hand.

Yep – a teapot!

From a distance, I thought “He must be having me on, why won’t they allow some teapots in the country?”

But as I got closer I saw it.

This wasn’t just any teapot – this was a teapot decorated from top to bottom in – shall we say – some VERY graphic images. Definitely not one to get out when Grandma comes for tea!

And it wasn’t just one teapot. It was a whole crate full of them.

Now, as a young lad – just 21 years old – you can imagine my embarrassment! The officer explained that items like these could simply not be allowed into the country and had to be destroyed.

I watched him smash the first one then I mumbled my excuses and slunk away…

Now, not only is this a funny story – but it’s a good reminder that there really is a market for everything! Your job as a business owner is to find that market and serve it – but do your due diligence too.

You don’t want to be the owner of 1000 smashed up teapots…