Exporters and Importers often ask what they should do in order not to jeopardise the entire claim compensation process. If we had to give only one answer that would be to properly manifest cargo at the time of booking.
You are about to learn why you should enumerate and list your shipped items in the smallest units when sending out the shipping instructions to the shipping line.
a. When exporter/shipper send shipping instructions for booking cargo to the shipping line, always enumerate the smallest — packed items in the container.
b. Even if your cargo is palletised, state clearly how many boxes, cartons, parcels are in total instead of just the number of pallets.
Hague Visby rules expressly state that the carrier’s liability is limited to an amount not exceeding 666.67 SDR“ per package or unit or 2 SDR “per kilogram of gross weight of the goods lost or damaged”, whichever is higher. Hamburg rules, COGSA and most local regulations have the same concept, just limitation amounts slightly differ.
For example, if you are shipping frozen tuna and want to obtain MUCH higher compensation from the shipping line in case the damage happens, consider enumerating in the cargo description each piece of tuna instead of bags of tuna or mentioning just weight. Same applies for general cargo shipments – always opt for 3000 boxes/cartons /pieces instead of 3 pallets.
Remember this, next time you ship cargo. This strategy is applicable to all global ocean and multimodal shipment scenarios.
Whether a carrier can limit liability will depend on the value, weight and particulars of the cargo as described in the bill of lading.
If Merchant understands how this works, he won’t have to skip a beat on “package limitation” when claiming for fair compensation from the liable party for lost or damaged goods during transit.
What say you? The ball is in your court.