Typically, when a shipper gets a heavy machinery quote, there are a few decisions. First, the shipper decides to ship their machinery in a container. And second, usually, there is only the equipment in that container.
Federal officials recently found something to the contrary. Inside of a shipping container with construction equipment, there was something else. Specially, something else besides the Bobcat Skid Loaders that was in transit. Inside that container, there were white plastic bags that contained more than 100 guns and 16,000 rounds of ammunition. This occurred at the Port of Norfolk, Virginia.
4 people in Iowa were charged with stockpiling these guns from the US in an elaborate scheme to make money via wire transfer by smuggling weapons illegally to Beirut, Lebanon. In addition, federal officials found that they also transported containers to Lebanon several months ago and made money. The four men remain in Federal custody pending trial, with bail revoked. Federal officials are still trying to determine who in Lebanon was going to receive the weapons. One possibility is the terrorist group Hezbollah. Federal officials were tipped off by a suspicious gun storeowner, who saw the group of suspects stockpiling vast amounts of guns and ammunition. Law enforcement officials also found guns and ammunition in their homes.
Despite this one instance of smuggling weapons, it is perfectly safe to transport heavy machinery through maritime shipping. Companies ship equipment everyday to the Middle East. In case you have any concerns about this, speak to your trusted freight forwarder.