Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has advised the Customs Brokers’ and Forwarders’ Council of Australia (CBFCA) to be on the lookout for so-called counterfeit containers.
Also known as a fake, cloned or re-birthed container, a counterfeit container is one that has had its unique identifier erased from its exterior and replaced with that of another legitimate container.
According to the DIBP, a counterfeit container can be used as a substitute for a copied container to “facilitate a range of border-related offences”.
In a membership update, the CBFCA recounted a recent instance whereby an importer unpacking containers found them filled with cheap brick pavers instead of the goods ordered.
“The whole containers were substituted and counterfeited,” it stated.
“We were told that this particular incident was a very primitive attempt as the containers in question were very old and in poor condition. So the possibility for a more widespread sophisticated operation cannot be underestimated.”
The DIBP advises the following indicators could define a counterfeit container situation:
- repainted display numbers
- alterations to corner castings
- display numbers not matching plate or casting number
- evidence of grinding of the corner casting
- original numbers partially hidden or showing through
- container safety plate or manufacturer’s plate damaged, altered or replaced
- any evidence of an attempt to replace serial numbers
- incorrect placement of container number
It is understood that counterfeit containers have not yet presented as an issue in New Zealand.