Hapag-Lloyd Won't Ship Whale Meat, Lions

Cecil the lion, recently killed by a trophy hunter

Published Sep 2, 2015 8:43 PM by Wendy Laursen

There’s hardly anything that can’t be shipped in a container. However, Hapag-Lloyd has prepared a list of goods it won’t transport for ethical reasons. 

The list, which includes whale and dolphin meat, includes items that the company believes deserve to be safeguarded even if they aren’t yet protected by international laws. 

The refusal goes for customers wishing to ship sealskins or hunting trophies, such as lions or other large animals. 

Hapag-Lloyd likewise refuses to transport turtles or mink skins, and it even goes further than the legal regulations in place by also excluding genetically modified microorganisms. 

A recent incident involving a shipment of leather boots shows just how thoroughly the blacklist is enforced. Although the shipment seemed rather innocuous, it emerged from the cargo documents that a care product would be enclosed with every pair of boots – and that this product contained an oil extracted from mink carcasses.

Whether deliberately or inadvertently, customers sometimes make false declarations about their cargo. To detect such cases, Hapag-Lloyd uses a special software that constantly sifts through shipment information to detect anomalies. This “watchdog” program is outfitted with a set of more than 7,000 search terms, primarily related to hazardous materials, that is continually expanded and refined. In 2014 alone, the software raised more than 162,000 red flags, of which roughly 2,600 proved to be well-founded.