Random Physical Inspection of Containers by Carriers

Why are containers being inspected?

The steamship lines are conducting random inspections of goods shipped in containers under the bill of lading. The carriers seek to improve the accuracy of cargo descriptions provided in order to protect vessels and crews from the possible dangers of mis-declared or improperly packed cargo. The random inspections are being implemented to (i) reduce the increased outbreak of fires inside boxes during transit, and (ii) to prevent damage to cargo in boxes improperly secured or lashed.

What happens if the Carriers detects manifest discrepancies and improper packing?

If a container is found to contain cargo which does not match what is listed on the Bill of Lading, or is discovered to be inadequately stuffed, lashed and secured, it may result in corrective actions for onward transportation. The result can be a reworking of the contents of the container to make sure that it is compliant with the CTU code by the carrier’s surveyor In some cases this could result in an inspection by US Customs. The cost of the additional inspections will be paid by either the Consignee/Importer or the Shipper depending on the direction of the container.  

How to secure cargo and prevent additional container rework/inspections?

As a CTPAT Member, CTPAT minimum security requirements are implemented.  This will help to ensure that the bill of lading accurately reflects what is in the container. In addition, the shipper must follow the guidelines as listed in the document called “Informative Material Related to the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU CODE)” as listed in the following link: http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Safety/Cargoes/CargoSecuring/Documents/1498.pdf.

By doing such, it will reduce the chances that the container will undergo an additional rework/inspection, which will be performed by the surveyor or in some cases by US Customs.

More Details

Please see the article in The Loadstar for more details. Contact Norman Jaspan Associates, Inc. about joining the CTPAT program as well as for information on the following:

  1. How is the container inspection performed?
  2. What happens if the surveyor discovers a manifest discrepancy or improperly packed cargo?
  3. What happens to the seal from origin?
  4. Does the replacement seal conform to the ISO 17712 requirements?
  5. What enables the carrier to have the right to open and/or scan any package or container at any time and to inspect the contents?
  6. How long is the container being held for rework/inspection?
  7. What is the range in cost for an additional rework/inspection?
  8. Under what circumstances will a container not be inspected?
  9. Since the surveyor is not US Customs, how does the consignee guarantee that the chain of custody is in tact?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *