Fax to a wrong number – US$ 500,000
A liner agent booked a reconditioned soft drink bottling plant packed in 16 containers from Rotterdam to India. The plant had been carefully dismantled, overhauled, and each component packed in numbered sequence for re-assembly. The shipper’s sale fell through and on Christmas Eve he instructed the agent not to ship the cargo on the intended sailing, due to depart over the New Year period. Instead of faxing the instruction to the line’s agent at Rotterdam, the agency clerk pressed the wrong “speed dial” button and sent the fax to the Antwerp agent. The 16 containers were shipped and the mistake was not discovered until after the holiday. The containers were duly landed in India, where unnecessary freight, storage and customs fines were compounded by the fact that numerous cargo inspections by customs and potential buyers had caused sufficient damage so as to make the plant virtually worthless.