Ease of do­ing ship­ping

Trans­porta­tion has be­come an easy busi­ness due to the var­ied con­tain­ers and their com­po­nents, ex­plains Sushant Sarin, Sr. VP, Com­mer­cial Line, TATA AIG.

Cargo Talk - - Guest Column -

With the ad­vent of the ship­ping con­tainer around 1949, the mode of trans­porta­tion has be­come sim­pli­fied. In the re­cent years, ma­jor­ity of the ship­ping com­pa­nies have been out­do­ing each other by build­ing larger and faster con­tainer ships. The trend that be­gan some­time in 2006 with M.V. Emma Maersk (11000 TEU), to­day is be­ing steered by M.V. MSC Global that can carry 19224 TEU (Twenty Feet Con­tainer Units) at any given time.

Though ship­ping con­tain­ers come in var­ied sizes and types to­day, the most pre­ferred type be­ing used to­day is the closed body (Gen­eral Pur­pose) Con­tainer. The com­mon size for this is 20 feet or 40 feet and the same is or­dered by the ship­pers, de­pend­ing on the re­quire­ment.

The re­spon­si­bil­ity of ar­rang­ing and stuff­ing a con­tainer can be out­sourced to a CHA (Cus­tom & Han­dling Agents) these days but most of the ship­pers pre­fer to get this done by their own lo­gis­tics team. It is noted that most of the lo­gis­tics agen­cies to­day down­load a stan­dard check­list from the in­ter­net & use it as their Stan­dardOf-Pro­ce­dures for con­tainer se­lec­tion and stuff­ing, not re­al­is­ing that se­lec­tion and in­spec­tion of con­tainer is dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent types of car­goes and should be tailor made and more rig­or­ous de­pend­ing on the type and the na­ture of the cargo.

Con­tain­ers for dry, re­frig­er­ated and liq­uid car­goes must com­ply with in­ter­na­tional re­quire­ments for road, rail and sea trans­porta­tion. A proper in­spec­tion of the con­tainer should be di­vided into two main sec­tions: Con­tainer De­fects and Con­tainer Se­cu­rity.


To check for new screws, nut & bolts or riv­ets around door han­dles, lock­ing mech­a­nisms, floor and hinges.

To check that the con­tainer num­ber is clearly dis­played out­side & in­side of the con­tainer.

To check that the cor­ru­gated walls on all sides are of the same type & de­sign. To check for the signs of tam­per­ing with hinges.

To check for un­war­ranted usage of ply­wood or any other lin­ing in­side the con­tainer – dou­ble wall can be used for drug traf­fick­ing – the dan­ger is more in re­frig­er­ated con­tain­ers as they have in­su­lated walls. Clo­sures should be se­cured with metal and other seals in or­der to re­duce the risk of theft (record the seal num­ber)

Car­ry­ing out these tests makes your cargo safer. Yet, for tran­sit losses that hap­pen de­spite all pre­cau­tions, the solution is marine in­sur­ance. (The views ex­pressed are solely of the author. The pub­li­ca­tion may or may not sub­scribe to the same.)

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