China - Abandoned Cargo Advice

After which time is a container officially abandoned in China?

Under China customs law, import shipment over 60 days, local customs has "right" to seize the cargo and put for auction. However, bearing in mind it is not an obligation of the customs, that is reason some valueless cargo can sit for years.

Does the Member need an official written letter from the customer that he abandons the cargo?

It would be helpful but in most of the case the cargo receiver just did not show up and/or the shipper did not give any instruction to the Member.

Is it possible for the Member to survey, sell, auction or destroy the cargo in this jurisdiction?

This is a difficult part in China because most of the uncollected shipment case is without customs clearance and Member will not have right to dispose the cargo unless and until the direction is given by the customs e.g. "return order", put for auction etc. In this situation, Member will only have to rely on some local agent to liaise with the customs in order to expedite the process and negotiate for a discount on the customs storage fees etc.

Does the Member need to obtain a court/customs order to have authority to dispose the cargo?

Yes, customs' order is necessary in most of the uncollected shipment cases.

Will the container and cargo be blocked by customs?

If the customs is not cleared, you may construe this as "blocked by customs" because no one can touch it.

Source of Information

Thomas Miller Hong Kong

Staff Author