Shipping is a vital part of any supply chain, be it on road, rail, sea, or air. Ensuring safe delivery of the product into customer’s hands is essential. As shipments travel miles from their origin, often from an overseas factory, to their final destination, they are exposed to various environmental factors. Ensuring that the product arrives without damage is necessary to satisfy a customer, as well as saving costs and avoiding rework loops within the complex supply chain processes. While you attempt to take good care of the shipments in long transit, some conditions are out of human control, and accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, leading to damaged cargo. Supply chain business professionals often do not know or understand the types of cargo damage, how and why it happens, how it can be prevented to limit the loss of time, money and reduce the inherited frustration that comes along while dealing with the cargo damage claims. Here is a quick read to help you understand the most frequent types of cargo damage, how to reduce the risk, and what to do after finding out that your cargo is damaged.
Types of Cargo Damage:
Every year, there are 1000’s of complaints registered for cargo claims associated with different kinds of cargo damages. UK P&I Club lists below cargo damages as faced on a regular basis.
Source:UK P&I Club
Physical damage is when cargo is damaged due to dropping, rolling, breakages, being knocked during transit, etc. The main cause of physical damage is bad stowage inside the container resulting in damages. Bad stowage includes incorrect, improper, and insufficient lashing (not using enough dunnage, chocking, lashing materials), incorrect weight distribution, improper loading affecting the stability of the cargo.
Image Source: UK P&I Club
Wet damage as the name suggests, is damage to cargo du e to water and wet conditions a cargo is exposed to. The damage could be due to changes in climatic conditions such as moisture, condensation during transit or seawater ingressing into the container due to small holes. Condensation can also happen when an incorrect type of container is used to transit sensitive products for e.g. usage of a normal container instead of a ventilated container.
Image Source: UK P&I Club
Damage to a cargo when it has been made impure through pollution, poisoning, etc. which renders it unusable for human consumption or other industrial or operational usages. There are numerous ways in which another commodity can contaminate a cargo, e.g., by inadequate cleaning after a previous cargo; by improper storage before shipment and consequent exposure to a contaminant; by poor separation from another commodity in the same cargo space, etc.
Image Source: Global Recovery Services
Reefer Related Damages
The damages are quite common occurrences and are caused by reefer equipment or mishandling or power failure. Reefer cargo damage includes decay, thawing, freeze damage, over-ripening, bruising, off-size, and/or discoloration of products in transit. The damage could occur due to improper setting of temperature, unintentional human error, improper stowage, poor air circulation.
Image Source: ASA Surveys
Infestation damage is caused by the presence of a large number of insects or animals, especially rodents in a cargo. Such type of damage mainly occurs in the cargo-carrying agricultural products. Infestation damage can also lead to contamination damage making products unsuitable to be used by the end-user. The damage can also cause delay of cargo in transit as port authorities need time to inspect the cargo for the cause of damage.
Image Source: CWA International
Measures to prevent Cargo Damage:
As a forwarder, shipper, manufacturer, or importer, it is essential that you take some definite steps to reduce the risk of damaged cargo and save financial and operational losses. Thankfully, today there are plenty of ways by which you can prevent damage to your cargo. Few of them are listed below:
- Use the correct type of container for shipping respective products. E.g. heavy cargo needs a container designed to carry heavy items.
- Ensure that the right lashings and dunnage material are used within the container to restrict the movement of cargo.
- Ensure that the incompatible products are not mixed in the container e.g., mixing clothing with chemicals.
- When shipping cargo susceptible to wet damage, make sure the correct route is chosen. Climates with high humidity, for example, could affect the cargo, and condensation could create water damage. Before shipment, ensure all doors of the container are well sealed and that all rubber gaskets are present.
- Frozen cargoes should be checked for dehydration, desiccation, fluid migration, odors, black spot, color and flavor changes, and should also be examined for signs of any upward temperature deviation and subsequent re-freezing
- Ensure you use technology-enabled solutions to know real-time updates about the location and condition of your cargo in transit to avoid any damage and take proactive measures to reduce further losses in case cargo has already been damaged. Use data from these technology-enabled services to accelerate your claims handling process.
How can Arviem help you achieve damage control and reduce financial losses?
Arviem takes pride in its real-time cargo tracking and monitoring services and does its utmost to ensure that the cargo in transit arrives on time and in good condition. IoT enabled Arviem’s solution helps to receive advanced insights and live alerts on accurate location and condition of cargo, be it high-value or condition-sensitive cargo (chemicals, perishables, electronics) and helps you to take proactive measures well before time. Arviem’s cargo condition monitoring services are of significant value when it comes to reducing cargo damages. By having the possibility to access the data at any time from anywhere, supply chain leaders can take proactive actions and make fast and smart decisions when it comes to the unplanned, distracting events and delays in the supply chain. Moreover, the real-time data about the location and condition of the cargo can be used in the claims handling process giving you assurance about easy and fast claims approval.
What to do after damage to your goods has occurred in-transit?
Make sure you document the damage with photos and file a cargo damage claim. Understand the cargo claim process to be sure that you get financial aid if your shipment is damaged during transit.
Join our webinar to learn how you can accelerate your claims handling process by relying on independent data describing the environmental conditions the goods have been exposed to during their journey.