Damage and Cargo Claim Investigations
Cargo Inspection Service offers advice on the maritime carriage and storage of a wide variety of food and agricultural products and carries out survey investigations of cargo damage carried in bulk or in reefer and dry containers.
Likewise, we carry out the review and analysis of information, documents and interpretation of laboratory analysis in claims related to the maritime transportation and storage of food products as well as cargo claim investigations.
This service is directed to P&I Clubs and their local correspondents, shipping lines, shipowners and charterers, cargo underwriters, importers, exporters and other entities involved in marine transportation. We have more than 40 years experience in damage investigations during marine transportation, including cargo in bulk, cargo in reefer and dry containers, liquid cargoes and reefer vessels.
Food and Agricultural Products
Based in Valencia, Spain and New Jersey, U.S.A., Cargo Inspection Service carries out highly specialized cargo surveys of food and agricultural products to assess their condition, the cause and extent of damage. Sampling of cargoes is done according to international standards (Mil. Std 105-D/ USDA /Codex /ICMSF/ISO 2859), in order to guarantee statistically representative sampling procedures. We are able to take aseptic samples for microbiological analysis.
Also, we are in the capacity to carry out rapid field tests for grains (moisture, density, % damaged grain, infestation); fresh fruits and vegetables (pressure test, size, acidity, °Brix, ratio, salt, objective ripening tests); freshness of meats and shellfish enzyme activity; seawater contamination; packaging evaluation (including cans and hermetically sealed containers). Microbiological analyses (SPC, coliforms, mold and yeast count, specific microorganisms) and mycotoxins can be done in external facilities.
The surveys include refrigerated cargo and dry products such as:
Green coffee, cocoa beans and cocoa products (liquor, powder, and butter).
Fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts: plantain, banana, mango, pineapple, melon, watermelon, papaya, citrus, tomato, avocado, onion, garlic, table and seed potato, apple, pear, plum, peach, nectarine, grape, kiwi, persimmon, cherries, strawberries, etc.
Bulk and bagged grain, oil-seeds and legumes: corn, wheat, sorghum, rice, barley, malt, oats, sesame seed, cottonseed, soybean, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, beans, etc.
Crude and processed fats and oils.
Refrigerated and frozen foods, including fruits and vegetables, fruit pulps, juices and concentrates; fresh and frozen foods of animal origin (meats, seafood, fish, shellfish, poultry and eggs).
Products carried or stored under modified atmosphere, controlled atmosphere or vacuum packed.
Dairy products: milk, dried milk, cheese, ice cream, fermented products and other dairy products.
Other foods: wine, beer, spirits, pastries, candy, sugar, salt and processed foods.
Refrigerated and Frozen Cargo
We are independent consultants and cargo surveyors specializing on reefer transportation of foods and other agricultural products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and temperature sensitive products, in reefer containers and reefer compartments of vessels, carried under normal, modified or controlled atmosphere.
Our service includes loading surveys for assessing product condition and quality parameters (including ripening stage, presence of diseases, disorders and defects in fruits and vegetables); evaluation of cargo temperature at the moment of loading or stuffing refrigerated cargo (frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables); and assessment of the condition of other temperature sensitive cargo .
We are able to determine the nature, extension and origin of damage during transportation of refrigerated cargo, and evaluate aspects such as optimal transportation temperature, packaging, ventilation, air circulation, fresh air exchange, stowage and palletizing patterns, modified and controlled atmospheres, as well as aspects related to the physical condition of containers and reefer system operation.
Also, we have developed technical software to optimize container stuffing, calculate fresh air exchange, simulate the performance of reefer containers and estimate the product residual shelf-life consumed by temperature deviation in transit.
We also supervise placement of seals in containers and ship holds, and cargo transfers in containers.
Grains, Fats and Oils, Fertilizers, Chemicals
Our firm has vast experience in the storage and ocean transportation of cereal grains, oil seeds, seed cake cargoes (soybean meal, corn gluten, pollard pellets, sunflower pellets and cottonseed meal), fish meal, fats, oils, as well as products such as coffee, cocoa beans, sugar, dry milk, fertilizers and chemicals.
Our expertise includes the investigation of damage to products stored or transported in bulk, break-bulk or containerized, involving seawater, condensation, contamination, mycotoxins, infestation and spontaneous combustion, as well as damage to fertilizers, including reconditioning operations and determination of the critical moisture content to prevent caking during transportation and storage.
Fresh and Frozen Foods: Condition, Stuffing and Reefer Container Evaluation
Cargo Inspection Service offers inspection services of exportation and importation fresh and frozen foods, evaluating, analyzing and supervising the following aspects:
Product condition (ripening, presence of diseases, physiological disorders and defects in fruits and vegetables) according to statistical sampling methods.
Product temperature statistics at the moment of stuffing
Evaluation of packaging, palletizing, stowing and lashing in containers and their incidence in air flow within the unit
Revision of Quantity parameters: type, number of packages,weights and marks according to the packing list.
Stuffing log and facts including ambient temperature and air relative humidity
Inspection of containers (refrigerated and dry):
Review of the PTI (pre-trip inspection) and cargo labels
Container parameters (set point, defrost intervals, air exchange, relative humidity, composition of gases (controlled atmosphere units)
Preparation and cleaning
Check for infestation
Placement of seals
Physical evaluation of the unit
In the case of imported products, we also analyze temperature and ventilation records in reefer containers.
Scientific Advice in Legal Cases. Risk Management. Loss Prevention
Legal cases. Cargo Inspection Service at Valencia, Spain and New Jersey, U.S.A., provides scientific and technical advice in legal cases to local and international maritime law offices, maritime lawyers, cargo underwriters and P&I Clubs, as well as critical review and analysis of documentation and evidence gathered and provision of expert evidence for litigation. We have served as expert witness in international courts regarding cases related to grains in bulk, cocoa in bags, barley malt, potatoes, seed potatoes and other reefer cargo. Also, we have been appointed by courts as experts to assess the nature, cause and extension of damage during marine transportation of fresh and processed foods, fertilizers and chemical products.
Loss prevention. Cargo Inspection Service offers technical and scientific advice for exporters and shipping lines regarding the optimal quality/condition required for the marine transportation of foods. Our service includes the best methods of packaging, palletization and stowage; temperature monitoring and stuffing in reefer/dry containers. Also, in the special preparation of containers/holds for cargo transportation in order to prevent or mitigate condensation damage in transit and infestation claims.
Risk assessment. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) methodology was applied and adapted by our firm to the assessment of hazards and risks involved in the transportation of foods by sea. Its application resulted in the prevention of damages and costly claims during transportation and in a more reliable operations. This concept has been applied successfully on behalf of a major international marine container line, carrying food in reefer containers around the world. Sound management of transportation risks resulted in a drastic reduction of claims. This loss prevention work was applied to frozen seafood, but can be applied to any frozen or perishable food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The prevention work usually include aspects such as plant inspections and audits to assess transportation risks in exportation products and the review of processing techniques, packaging, freezing methods, controls, material handling, proper stuffing and stowage, in order to reduce risks and eventual transportation claims