is the Inspection Manager of Cargo Inspection and Freight Ltd (CIF). He is a professional with vast knowledge of Cargo Survey in the shipping business. In this week’s edition of your Shipper’s Guide, he takes you on what Cargo survey is all about, how to become a surveyor, the importance of Cargo survey, where Cargo Survey takes place and so many other things about Cargo Survey that shippers need to know. Read on
What are the safety issues a cargo surveyor looks out for?
In survey, naturally when you want to enter the port, you will see boldly, written at the gate “Safety first”, because sometimes port can be a dangerous place where accident can happen in any form, in any way. It is where the machines move around; heavy equipments move around to perform their jobs in the port. For the life of the surveyor, he has to be careful while in the port.
In some areas in the port, the surveyors can be advised to put on helmets, safety boots depending on the areas they are going to perform that particular duty. And while on port too, mostly these days, safety percussions are there that even the stevedores, shipping agents and whoever is involved in activities in the port. Port has to be equipped with these safety equipments in case of any hazard in the port.
In the course of carrying out your duty as a cargo surveyor, what are the challenges you encounter?
As a cargo surveyor, I encounter different challenges. We carry out survey jobs at different areas; it can be at the road side, inside the port, in the warehouses or at any open place depending on where the job is made available. So when one is on-board, there are challenges of meeting up with different people, the ship agent, the captain of the vessel, meeting up with the clearing agent, so as to be able to penetrate and carry out the survey. Survey is not a job you come in and you start making impact immediately, you most approach people and must be able to explain why you are there and who sent you so that you can be able to be approved to perform the job. If you are on the road with a camera taking photograph over a particular cargo, there may be tendency that one can be arrested by the security agents. Even in the port particularly, it is against the law for anybody to take photographs in the port, but the cargo surveyors take photographs because of the nature of their job.
Who pays for the damages found on the cargo?
In shipping business, insurance comes in. Many of the cargoes coming in or out of Nigeria are insured. And for having insured the cargo, there is an assurance that if either in transit or any where the cargo is damaged, the insurance is there for the importer to make his claims, depending on who ever has the interest on the cargo. That is why the surveyor dig deep to find out what happened to the cargo, where and why it happened, so as to be able to find out who will be liable for paying the losses that may come up from that damage. When a cargo report is issued with it, there is an assurance that the importer can be able to pursue the case to the law court in absence of amicable settlement to recoup his losses.
What are the importances of survey on shipping business?
In the real sense, without survey, it will very difficult for some of our importers, cargo owners and whoever that has to do with cargo to be able to ascertain what a particular cargo is. For instance, you imported breakable items, and you have up to 500, but on getting to where you are supposed to lake your cargo, you got only 20 sound, in such a case, how do you claim your losses? This is where an independent surveyor is needed to assist that cargo, make investigation and find out what happened to the cargo, so that the shippers or cargo owners can recoup their losses.
Many of our importers do not know the importance of surveyor. Even where you go to their warehouse on invitation from another end, because there are many hands or interest over a particular cargo, sometimes these importers look at you as if you have come to reveal their secrets; they don’t much regard the issue of survey. A surveyor should be welcomed anywhere.
On stopping a container that has damage cannot come that particular day, that job should be suspended for the surveyor to be around, because in survey, you must write what you see and not what you heard from people, because somebody’s money is at stake, therefore the surveyor must write accurately what he saw to be able to defend whatever report he came out with at the law court if he is called to defend it. So, survey is very important in shipping business, it helps to know or ascertain the actual number of items in a cargo and to tell the state they were when they came in.