Container shortage is increasing cargo damage, says marine surveyor
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The global container shortage is increasing the number and severity of damaged cargo according to international marine and cargo surveyor Battermann & Tillery. It states that companies are reaching out to bulk cargo shipments as an alternative, but don't always reinforce packaging to prepare for the different transportation.
Rates in maritime shipping have been increasing for years by now, but the soaring prices are not the only problem causing a headache for traders. The significant container shortage is complicating matters further.
This is why more traders are reaching out to bulk cargo ships when transporting loads that would normally have been shipped in containers.
“As a result, we have recently dealt with a number of cargo claims where, for example, plywood panels or granite stones, usually containerised cargo, were transported in large quantities by bulk carriers. This resulted in damage, in some cases extensive damage, in conjunction with normal transport strains and in combination with packaging unfit for purpose, cargo shifting and stowage problems,” Tillery wrote in the International Union of Marine Insurance monthly newsletter.
Bulk cargo transportation differs from container transportation in many ways; in stowage patterns, handling and securing, for example.
Therefore, if a trader decides on transporting their goods by bulk cargo ships, the packaging has to be modified and reinforced – otherwise, safe and damageless transportation cannot be guaranteed.
“Due to the small number of packing units and a container’s small space, securing the goods in container transport is comparatively simple. On bulk carriers, however, different consignments are loaded together. Due to the design of the vessels, various problems arise, such as gaps between packing units, differences in height, etc. In principle, such problems can be countered with suitable means and expertise in order to prevent damage. However, the cases we have seen also show that staff at the ports of loading often do not have sufficient experience to load and secure these goods properly,” adds Tillery.