The Need for Steel Pre-Shipment Surveys

Steel cargo claims account for a large proportion of total cargo claims, in terms of both frequency and cost. Steel products are particularly prone to damage, which may result in a claim against the carrier.

However, as with most claims, steel cargo claims can be avoided.

Because of increasing claims for poor outturn of steel cargoes, it is now very common for shipowners, operators, carriers and P&I clubs to contract independent surveyors to perform pre-loading surveys of this type of cargo.

There would be insufficient time for the ship’s officers to perform a detailed survey of all of the cargo from the time of the arrival of the vessel until the cargo is loaded. Hence, the assistance of an independent and qualified surveyor is essential if the condition of the cargo at this time is to be fully and accurately determined.

The purpose of a pre-shipment survey of the steel cargo is to establish its apparent condition immediately before it is loaded onto the vessel.

A pre-shipment survey will help to ensure that the mate’s receipts and bills of lading accurately reflect the cargo quantity and apparent order and condition at the time of shipment as well as to ensure that these documents are appropriately claused.

Often a steel pre-loading survey of the vessel is also requested. This will involve an examination of vessel's cargo holds to ensure that they are in a suitable condition to receive the cargo of steel products. Also included in the survey is an examination of the cargo hatches, ventilators, sounding pipes, bilge pumping systems, etc.