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Mislabelled cargo in box that caught fire at Port of LA leads Coast Guard to inspect all of shipper’s containers

A container fire at the Port of Los Angeles on March 4 has exposed cargo mislabelling that saw lithium-ion batteries declared on the bill of lading as synthetic resins, say US Coast Guard officials. As a result, the Coast Guard is working with the shipper, the port, US Customs and Border Protection, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration to identify and inspect all of the shipper’s containers at the port.

The fire, in a container at the WBCT Terminal, “wasn’t serious,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm, and was quickly put out by the LA City Fire Department. However, all containers linked to the same shipper will be inspected, “just to be safe,” said Brahm. The number of containers, all apparently bound for China, is believed to be 48.

The Coast Guard has not named the shipper, because officials have not yet determined who is responsible for the labelling error. Brahm did say, though, that “we don’t think this was anything nefarious at the moment.”

The Coast Guard has placed a hold on containers from the shipper until the cargo is proven to comply with safety regulations.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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