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More than half of Busan’s empty boxes are dirty or damaged

Trailer drivers in Busan have complained that shipping lines are neglecting to inspect, clean and repair containers, instead they have passed on the responsibility to them.

Around 52% of empty containers lying in Busan Port are in poor condition, according to Busan Port Authority’s (BPA) examination of a sample of empty containers across the nine terminals in South Korea’s busiest container port.

Out of 30,792 empty containers collected in the nine terminals of Busan New Port and Busan North Port between 16 and 24 November 2020, 2,010 boxes were in poor condition. A good number of the containers needed to be washed, and in some cases, pests such as cockroaches and spiders were found.

BPA said the rate of defective imported empty containers (809 surveyed) was 59%, much higher than the rate of 47.2% for re-distributed containers (1,201 surveyed) that domestic importers returned to the port. “This is because shipping companies do not properly inspect the condition of containers in foreign countries before transporting these containers to Busan Port.”

BPA, assisted by Busan Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency and the Busan customs office, have been conducting the survey since 2018, to relieve the trailer drivers of problems caused by defective containers and to prevent foreign pests from infesting the Korean ecosystem.

In many cases, the containers had visible damage on either the exterior or the interior and had garbage deposited inside. Among the containers in unsatisfactory condition, garbage-strewn containers formed the largest proportion, at 37.3%.

Repairs were carried out on 4.6% of the containers in poor condition, while another 1.2% had to be replaced as they were beyond salvage.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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