CLEVELAND—On Thursday, Jan. 26, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Cleveland will partner with Norfolk Southern Corporation to donate more than $102,000 in new musical instruments to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The donation will take place in a 10:00 a.m. ceremony at the Norfolk Southern rail yard at 5300 Greenhurst Ext. in Maple Heights, Ohio where the instruments will be on display and representatives from CBP, Norfolk Southern and Cleveland Metropolitan School District will make remarks.
"These wonderful imported musical instruments have been silently waiting in a 20-foot sea-land container for over a year because the original importer never completed the entry process," said Steven Artino, acting CBP Chicago director of Field Operations. "Recently, our Cleveland CBP officers reached out and coordinated efforts with representatives of Norfolk Southern to waive storage fees and release the sound of music to the Arts and Education program within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The employees at Norfolk Southern are to be commended for their generosity and altruistic efforts."
More than 2,000 instruments including cowbells, bongos, congas, brass bugles, tambourines, sitars, drumsticks for an Irish drum called a Bodhran, and musical stands made up the inventory of a shipment that was imported into the Cleveland area from Pakistan in Oct. 2010. The instruments were valued at $102,316 and the storage fees totaled $40,550 from time of arrival.
When shipments enter the country without complete information or documentation needed to make legal entry into the United States, the items become general order merchandise. After six months, if no further information is received, the merchandise is officially abandoned and turned over to the U.S. government for disposal. Under normal CBP general order procedures for abandoned and unclaimed merchandise, these instruments would have been sent to public auction where the proceeds from the sale would have been used to satisfy any liens against the goods by the shipping company that transported the instruments and the railroad company that transported and stored the merchandise. CBP reviews shipments in a general order status that can be donated to charity and recently announced the donation of more than $1 million worth of abandoned and unclaimed merchandise to charities nationwide.