Loading and Discharging Inspection & Supervision
INSPECTION’s loading and discharge supervision services help to protect the safety, integrity and quality of your products throughout the supply chain.
The objective for loading and unloading (discharging) inspection / supervision is to verify during loading and unloading operations that the correct material or product is handled properly and secured at the means of delivery.
Inspection’s expert inspectors will provide with the assurance that the quality and safety requirements are met and that the goods are handled correctly and competently to the customers.
Inspection’s highly qualified inspectors can put into effect the following inspection activities:
- Visual Check of general appearance of the cargo and packaging.
- Verifying quantity by means of ‘number of packing cases’ and the markings at packing according to contractual specifications.
- Check appropriate handling procedures during all loading and unloading operations.
- Check general cleanliness of ship deck, container, cargo plane or wagon, etc.
- Check fastening and wedging of cargo and maintain the protection against the natural factors.
- Check shipment documentation.
The container loading inspection, like the pre-production inspection, is seldom used. But it can be a worthwhile option in some specific cases.
It can be useful if the buyer has a precise loading plan and needs it to be respected very precisely (e.g. some cartons are too fragile to be placed at the bottom), or if the packaging is not conventional (e.g. some garments hung on bars, with no carton protection).
It can also ensure that the right kind of products are shipped out in the right quantity, when the importer places no trust in his supplier or when several suppliers bring their products for consolidation.
A lot of things can go wrong when a shipment is loaded in a container, or during transport.
A good solution is to send an experienced supervisor that conducts the container loading inspection. So the question is: When to conduct a container loading inspection?
It takes place in the factory when the products are loaded in container and the whole shipment quantity should already be fully packed.
What should be checked at the time of the loading container?
- Conformity of products
The inspector can arrive a little in advance, open a few cartons, and check if the products and the inner packing are conform to what the buyer is expecting.
The objective is to ensure that the right kind of goods is shipped out. Of course he can only check a few samples of each SKU, so he might not notice if 30% of the quantity is broken. That’s why a random inspection on a higher number of samples (during production and/or after all is finished) is advised.
- Outer packing
A quick look at the condition of export cartons is a must. The cartons might be very soft because of the wet weather, or already crushed/bulged, or not properly closed.
All these issues are negative findings for the buyer. What will cartons look like after several weeks in a container, and a few loadings/unloadings in trucks and distribution centers?
Other packing materials might be requirement by the buyer: pallets, plastic wrap, etc. And for some large or fragile products, some dunnage such as inflatable bags, kraft paper, etc. might be necessary.
Factories are always tempted to save a few pennies on such accessories, with potentially disastrous consequences.
- Total quantity and breakdown
The inspector can count the whole quantity and it should be easy since it should all be packed in cartons. The number of cartons appears on the bill of lading issued by the forwarder but this type of inspection also ensures that cartons contain the right quantity of products.
- The container
When truck arrives the inspector takes a few minutes and examines the container’s condition. If inspector identifies potential leaks or other issues he/she should report it immediately and (if possible) ask for another container.
- The handling and the loading process
The inspector supervises the loading. The buyer might have sent a loading plan or some simple & basic directives (e.g. “the heaviest cartons at the bottom”).
Inspector has to be sure that the factory workers try to make all cartons fit nicely in the container. Sometimes they don’t take this pain, and they end up pushing (and crushing) cartons with a forklift which a situation that is often observed.
- The seal
The inspector verifies that a proper seal closes the container before the products are driven away from the factory. It also protects the exporter (under FOB or EXW terms), as it clarifies the responsibility of the forwarder.
Container loading inspections are mostly useful at the below conditions:
- If the loading way absolutely has to be respected (for example shirts placed inside a plastic film and then hung up on racks)
- If products from different suppliers are consolidated by the buyer (or by a local agent) into full containers: it is important to check who brings what quantity of products
- If the buyer does not trust his supplier at all and there is a risk of the wrong type of products will be shipped out
- If the outer packing will be used as retail packing (a flooded container might be disastrous).
It should be kept in mind that there are limits of a container loading inspection:
- It is not a replacement for more in-depth inspections
- It can only be used for confirming product quality (because nothing can be repaired at this stage unless shipment is suspended) and for putting pressure on the factory to load properly.