The Bureau has identified a number of purported shipments of Heavy Melting Scrap (HMS) which, upon closer scrutiny, appear not to have taken place at all. The documents represented containerised cargoes of HMS allegedly shipped, by an Austrian beneficiary, from a northern Italian port to various ports in Asia. IMB enquiries quickly established that although the nominated vessels were at the port at the stated time of loading and the containers as per B/L are in existence, the said cargoes were not loaded as.
IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan commented: “These transactions were supported by a very convincing set of documents, which on first glance appear to be genuine. Furthermore, the vessels named on all of the Bills of Lading were all in the ports of loading at the stated time- which suggests a degree of familiarity with the local trade. IMB was able to use third-party sources to establish that these shipments had, in fact, never taken place.”
All of the suspect transactions have included Bills of Lading issued by the same NVOCC. The NVOCC had a website that offered an ‘Automated Tracking System’, which allows users to enter shipment details in order that they receive email confirmation that the shipment had taken place. The information provided by third-party sources, however, directly contradicted that provided by the NVOCC.
The documents included an inspection certificate issued by a UK-based inspection company. The company, registered less than one month prior to the first purported shipment was said to have taken place, have a similar name and logo to that of an established inspection company.
Mr Mukundan continued: “These documents have clearly been produced by someone with an in-depth knowledge of trade finance and are designed to deceive those without specific shipping or trade knowledge. Most worrying, we have seen several referrals of this type of document from various members in recent days- suggesting that there may be numerous transactions under way with several banks.”
Stringent due diligence checks on all parties involved in any major transaction are strongly recommended by IMB, even on parties with established trading records. Furthermore, the Bureau advises that all details of the shipment appearing on the documents are verified independently to prevent losses.