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Damage Cost: Shipping Containers Lost at Sea

After bulk cargo, shipping containers account for around 90% of all of the goods transported into the world. There are currently over 5 million shipping containers in transit on the world’s oceans carrying all of the consumer items that we buy and use in everyday life. Every year about 10,000 of these containers, or about one every hour, are lost at sea and depending on its contents the container can either become an environmental hazard or a danger to other shipping. While this is a tiny percentage of the total number of containers that are shipped each year it comes at an estimated cost of $370 million which adds significantly to freight costs overall. However there are also other costs associated with losing shipping containers to the sea. Most containers that have fallen overboard are lost in storms, and the majority sink, often the rough weather breaks them up but occasionally they remain intact and form the basis of new reefs. On the surface this seems okay but many containers contain toxic substances which gradually leach into the environment over time having a long term adverse effect. It is also thought that these new artificial reefs may be creating highways… read more »