BUSAN, Sept. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Empty freight containers shipped to the Port of Busan were in such poor condition that trailer truck drivers were found to take on cleaning and repair duties to maintain the containers.
According to an audit that was carried out by the Busan Port Authority, the Busan Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, Customs, and the Quarantine Agency, more than half of the empty containers that came from overseas were found to be faulty.
Authorities investigated 272 empty containers, which was just 4 percent of the 6,700 empty containers. A total of 141 empty containers that were checked had been brought into Busan from overseas.
Of these, 62 containers (44 percent) were found to be in poor condition, with leftover garbage remaining inside them, paint peeling off, nails protruding outward and other unpleasant surprises.
Truck drivers typically had to first tidy up the interior of the container, apply spray paint to rusty areas, and other measures before returning it to the owner.
In two faulty containers, industrial waste was discovered inside, causing drivers to spend more time than necessary in order to fix and clean the containers.
Untidy and problematic containers were most likely to come from North America (27 containers), followed by South America (14 containers), the Middle East (8 containers), Asia (3 containers) and other countries (8 containers).
Faulty containers from abroad far outnumbered those being recirculated domestically.
The recirculation of containers is the practice of leaving an empty container overnight at the storage yard after removing imported goods, before providing it to export companies for use the following day.
Only 18.3 percent (24 containers) being recirculated domestically were found to be in poor condition because drivers usually clean and fix containers that are in need of repair.
However, ship owners who receive money from owners of shipped goods have not been carrying out their duty of maintaining clean containers.
The Busan Port Authority says it will come up with corrective measures after verifying the results of the sample checks.
In November, a detailed survey into the types of empty containers coming into Busan will be carried out.
M. H. Lee (email@example.com)