Claims management in Fresh Fruit Trade

When a problem at the arrival of the goods to the port occurs, their are several steps to follow.

First of all, the shipper must check if the temperature registered in the thermographs is corresponding with the temperature written in the BL. If the temperature appears stable, he also needs to check the percentage of ventilation which must correspond with the parameter written on the BL. If both of the parameters are correct, the liability of the shipping company for fruit damages is excluded, because it has fulfilled its part of the transport agreement properly. Nevertheless, if the temperarure or the ventilation are incorrect, the shipper must immediately contact the local agent of the shipping company, inviting him to a joint survey within 24 hours prior to the inspection so that the carrier will have time enough to assist.  They need to do so in writing, indicating place, day and time for the inspection, and contact person’s details. Also, they should indicate extension of damage expected. Note that they should not unload the cargo from the container until the inspection starts unless leaving the cargo inside might jeopardize the condition of the goods.


Never return the container empty without checking the above mentionned parameters to determine the resulting responsibilities.

Secondly, make sure that your surveyor takes pictures of the whole operation if the cargo is unloaded before the arrival of the carrier’s inspector or if the carrier decides not to attend the unloading. The pictures must contain container number, ventilation and display, clearly showing settings, supply and return. In addition, the stowage of the cargo at the opening, showing the red line and the t-floor, must be photographed as well as the whole operation.

Straightaway after the joint inspection took place, the consignee must try to minimize losses. This means to find a salvage sale if the fruit is still marketable. When he gets a rate, before making the sale, he needs to notify the carrier so that the latter  will have the chance to get a better quote. It is essential to keep the invoice of the salvage sale to submit to the carrier in the claim file. However, if a sale is not found, the consignee will try to donate the cargo. In consequence, it is essential to keep the certificate  of the donation to submit to the carrier in the claim file.


Eventually, if none of the previous is possible, then the cargo should be destroyed. Therefore, it is essential to keep the certificate  of the destruction and invoice to submit to the carrier in the claim file.

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