November 4 2022 | 9 Min Read

International logistics and the strange case of the Orange Horror from the Deep

Posted By
Wendy Mackenzie
International logistics and the strange case of the Orange Horror from the Deep

In the early 1980s, a man was strolling along a remote stretch of beach in Brittany, France. He’d walked this coastline many times across the years. He knew the land intimately — every rocky outcrop, every creature that called this windswept place home. But on this walk, the man’s eyes were drawn away from the beauty he knew so well.

Something was different.

In the early morning light, he made out the outline of an oddly shaped… thing… ahead of him, partially submerged beneath the seaweed and pearly sand. It wasn’t a rock; that much was clear. Its shape was too symmetrical. And something about its almost fluorescent shade of orange, vibrant even in the gray dawn’s light, unsettled him. As he drew nearer, his steps slowed. A strangely coiled tendril — or was it a whiplike tentacle? — appeared to protrude from its bulbous body, terminating in a club-like protuberance. He circled the thing warily. Was it a sea creature? Some strange venomous horror from the deeps washed ashore overnight during high tide?

He steeled himself, took a step forward, and poked the Orange Horror with his toe.

The man couldn’t possibly have known that this first cautious toe poke would set the stage for a mystery that would lead investigators, three decades later, to a macabre discovery deep inside a long-forgotten sea cave.

In international logistics, expect the unexpected

We’ll get back to the Orange Horror in a moment (no peeking!), but we thought this might be a good moment to mention that strange things can happen at sea. And international freight is no exception. Here are some of the strange logistics occurrences that can happen at sea and how IL2000 makes sure they won’t happen to you.

Cargo arriving at the wrong port

Container being loaded on truck

A company negotiates a shipment with an overseas vendor. Right on schedule, they get a notification their shipment arrived in the US. There’s a little issue, though. To save money, the vendor shipped to their nearest physical port, which happens to be on the wrong side of the continent from you. That little issue becomes monsoon-sized when the company learns that the shipment’s INCOTERMS stipulate that remaining transport costs are their financial responsibility.

The Mysterious Case of The Wrongly Delivered Cargo is more common than you might imagine. We prevent it from happening to you by keeping expert vigilant eyes locked on your contract conditions. We make sure a point of delivery and transfer of risk are deep-baked right into your contract. Then, with the fine print icebergs successfully traversed, we’ll show you better ways to fill the gaps in your intermodal shipping with our full range of drayage services.

Carrier unreliability

The old carrier bait and switch: In this situation, a carrier promises the world, but all that promised reliability drops like a cannonball into the Mariana Trench once the customer parts with its money. As the disputes multiply, our unlucky company is left with a difficult decision — carry on with subpar service or start over with a new carrier? But what if the same thing happens again?

IL2000 can help you in two ways here. First, we equip you to make smart shipping choices with carrier background checks and detailed risk analyses of every leg of your international shipping operation. Once the right carriers are in place, our team of freight handling specialists will be there to swiftly resolve disputes and analyze delivery performance over time. Your freight’s journey depends on a good carrier relationship built on clear terms and water-tight accountability. Vigorous 3PL representation ensures that you can secure the right kinds of carrier partnerships.

Shipments costing way more than expected

Everything looks like smooth sailing, but is it? This company has an established supplier. Over time, they’ve built an efficient inbound shipping process. The company simply calls in an order, and like clockwork, the vendor leaps into action with prompt delivery and predictable shipping charges. Then one day, the bill comes in with a hefty additional shipping charge – thousands more than expected. Too late, the company realizes the vendor shifted to shipping terms that were more favorable to their bottom line.

Pre-Covid, companies might set up a shipping agreement and leave it alone for a year or more. The international shipping rate waters are far more turbulent in the foamy wake of growing global supply chain uncertainties. With IL2000 on deck, a team of international freight experts will scrutinize each of your shipment orders for changed rates, a shift to different INCOTERMS, hidden fees, hazardous materials handling fees — anything that could deliver a nasty jolt to your business.

A container just goes missing

Lost shipping containerThe nightmare scenario, of course, is when a container just goes missing. The company knows the container left a certain port at a certain time, but what happened next? With its international supply chain threaded across an intricate series of ships, vehicles, ports, and storage locations, their shipment could be anywhere. They have no choice but to wait and hope.

With our proprietary transportation management system, we can track and trace your shipment through every point of its journey. If something strange happens out there, our rapid response team can begin actively troubleshooting the situation in under 15 minutes. Moving from crisis to proactive management, our detailed exception reporting on problem shipments helps you map out those logistical whirlpools and avoid them in future shipments.

Getting back to The Orange Horror

So as we were saying, back on the shores of Brittany, the man cautiously approached this strange half-buried Orange Horror from the Deep. Heart pounding, he nudged it with his big toe and discovered The Horror’s true fell purpose.

The man stood toe to snout with a bright orange novelty Garfield phone. (Image from: The Mystery Of Garfield Phones Washing Up On French Beaches Since The '80s Has Been Solved | TIME YouTube video.)Garfield Phone on French Beach TIME videoDon’t worry it gets better. That first horrific visitation was only the beginning. For three decades, visitors to that same remote stretch of shoreline would find more of these feline telephonic devices, hundreds in fact, their sun-bleached googly eyeballs fixed sightlessly on an eternity of ocean. For over 30 years, the cursed artifacts would wreak unholy orange havoc on the local environment. No one knew how they arrived, where the phones came from, or if the endless orange onslaught would ever stop.

In 2019, a local environmental group conducted an investigation, Smithsonian Magazine reports. Quizzing the locals, investigators heard tell of a remote sea cave, hidden from view and almost impossible to access. They followed the lead. Sure enough, at the mouth of this remote cave, the investigators discovered a macabre graveyard of assorted Garfield bits strewn across the rocks and floating in tidal pools. They pressed on. Deep inside the cave lay a slowly decaying shipping container, likely lost in a storm and deposited there not long before that first fateful Garfield discovery three decades ago.

The mystery was solved, but the Curse of Garfield had one last venomous sting in its chubby tail. The investigators found the shipping container empty; all the remaining telephonic monstrosities had swept out to sea. Who knows how many Garfield phones are still adrift out there to this day? And how many damaged containers still lurk in the deep?

Strange things happen in the ocean

Protect your international supply chain from the unknown with our crack squad of strange thing prevention specialists. IL2000 understands the many added uncertainties you face when you ship overseas. With our comprehensive knowledge of the international shipping process, drayage services, enhanced BI, and INCOTERMS expertise, we’ll get it there for you — fast, reliably, and in one piece.

Why suffer Poseidon’s supply chain maelstrom alone?

Talk to IL2000 today.


Topics: Transportation Models, Supply Chain Management, Freight Costs

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