USA - Abandoned Cargo Advice

After which time is a container officially abandoned in the United States?

There is no official time period - we advise members to push customers to pick up cargo after 30 days and consider abandoned after 45 days.

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

It would help to receive a letter but it rarely happens. This is why the member should notify the customer cargo is being disposed or sold.

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

It depends on customs status‎. In US if custom entry is not filed, the cargo cannot be sold and cargo goes into GO (general order) and is sold by customs.

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

No, bill of lading terms gives them a lien on cargo if freight is not paid or cargo not collected.

Source of Information

George Radu

Claims Executive

Thomas Miller Americas (New Jersey)

Staff Author