A systematically orchestrated coffee cargo pilferage destined for export market has become a trend in the export business with at least six exporters reportinga loss of some 150 quintals from sealed containers, The Reporter has learnt.
Since last month, exporters such as Testi Coffee Trading PLC, Mulege PLC, Sidama Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Abbahawa Trading PLC, Fahm General Trading PLC and the likes have confirmed loss tonnage in their recent coffee export cargo.
FayselAbdosh Yonis, managing director of Testi Coffee PLC, told The Reporter that recently his company has received reports of overall loss of 51 bags of coffee (equivalent to 31 quintals)from a 420 quintals coffee shipment staffed and sealed in two containers. According to Faysel, The coffee was destined to reach buyers based in Bussan, South Korea and Sydney, Australia.
Fahm Trading, on the other hand,has so far reported a loss of 8.4 quintals from its recent coffee consignment.
Similarly, Sidama Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union has encountered a loss of 53.6 quintals out of 210 quintals shipped to Germany. The Reporter has learnt that an additional 60 quintals has been stolen through the same tampering techniques. It is learnt that investigations are underway to find out the total volume of the stolen coffee.
GirmaButta, manager of shipping and exports with Akakas Logistics PLC–one of the foremost shipping agentsin Ethiopia—that transported part of the ill-fated coffee elaborated on how the act of pilferage has been committed and instigated.
According to Girma, so far, three types of damages have been identified on the staffed and sealed containers. One of the methods of tampering and stealing from shipping containers is by replacing the screw bolts that attach the locking rods with a fortified bolt seals.
A container has two lock rods and by uniting the two lock rods, relatively with fortified bolt seals, the cargo assumed to be secure for shipment. Hence, the unidentified pilfers have managed to open some the shipping containers without breaking or cutting the bolt seals. On the other hand, the bolt seals could also be cut and replaced by another seals. Another alternative method could involve grinding the roof of the container to off and seal it again.
Some transports have been apprehended as potential suspects. The theft, however, could be exercised elsewhere either at the port of shipment or in the destination countries. Both the exporters and the logistics experts are inclined to suggest that such acts are committed within Ethiopia.
It is estimated that on Freighton Board (FOB) shipment agreement, a kilo of coffee is estimated to fetch USD 4. 629. Hence, the 150 quintals or 15,000 kilogram of coffee in question could earn around USD 64,000.