A shipper / CHA (Customs House Agent) wrongly declares the nature of the cargo.
The Booking Slip was issued by the shipping company, on the basis of the cargo information provided by the shipper / CHA; which in this case was ‘Non Hazardous’.
The shipping line issued the Delivery Order for picking up 2’ x 20’ containers from the yard, which were to be taken to the shippers’ factory premises for stuffing.
On completion of stuffing, the containers were moved to the port and loaded onto the vessel for export, post which the vessel sailed.
Subsequently at the time of releasing the Bill of Lading, it was noticed that the Shipping Bill indicated the cargo loaded was ‘Hazardous’ in nature.
This was a clear instance of mis-declaration by the shipper / CHA. Such mis-declarations are violations of IMO (International Maritime Organisation) norms.
Such containers are normally placed at specific slots earmarked on the basis the nature of cargo declaration. Wrong placement and friction could have resulted in major fire / disaster besides huge penalties.
On realising that the cargo was hazardous, immediate steps were taken and the Tran-shipment Port was instructed to offload the container from the vessel. The Hazardous status was then declared and the containers were moved to the CFS (Container Freight Station) for affixing the appropriate labels / stickers. Only then was the cargo loaded to the final destination port.
All relevant additional charges were collected from the shipper prior to releasing the Bills of Lading.
A SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) was formulated and documented; whereby it is now mandatory that Shipping Bills have to be submitted to the line before the containers are gated in the port, so that all relevant details of the Shipping Bill are completely checked with the Booking slip, to confirm their authenticity.
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