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Cargo Damage

A cargo is said to get damaged when the product (i.e., cargo) is received by the customer in bad condition. In simple words, when a cargo in perfect condition before dispatch is received by the costumer in not so appreciable conditions, the cargo is said to be damaged.

Cargo Damage
(Source- ICC Logistics)

Following are the causes of cargo damage:

  1. Overloading.
  2. Bad condition of container.
  3. Lack of proper packaging.
  4. Lack of protective material while packing.
  5. Improper lashing of cargo in container.
  6. Negating the weather condition while transport.
  7. Improper container choice.
  8. Improper transportation .

Container cargo damage

Maintaining good condition of containers should be a top priority process for good and efficient flow of maritime logistics and all seafarers carry out the required operations for good maintenance of the cargo containers but container damage happen at any stage of shipping due to the natural or manmade errors and then the ship owners have to pay for those losses.

The main reasons of this damage to containers are natural human errors or mechanical errors.

There are different types of container damages as follows:

  • Broken door container;

This type of damage occurs due to manmade negligence like poor handling on port and while loading on trucks, careless management of container in sea or due to fall from cranes

  • Total loss of container on ship;

This type of damage can be due to human as well as natural conditions

When the ship sails, due to the rough weather, there is lot of rolling, pitching, yawing and what not, this causes the container to fall into the sea and get lost.

  • Dent on container;

This type of damage can be happen due to improper functioning of the forklifts crabbing with other containers and etc.

  • Dropped container;

It is very basic type of damage that is caused due to the fall of the container from height.

  • Rusting of container;

It happens widely on board the ship. Due to bad weather, the container goes through the corrosive process and due to lack of maintenance damages the container.

Cargo ship damage

The cargo ship has number of regulations that should be followed by the crew in order to prevent the damages to the ship. The damage to the ship may be in different form like the damage to hull, engine failure, cargo damage etc.

The most common reason is improper watch keeping leading to the collision of the ship to ship or ship to harbor, grounding etc.

Reduction of cargo damage in ship

  1. Use of proper container should be done.
  2. Make sure that the lashing of the product inside the container is strong enough to face the rough weather at sea and proper dunging material and sufficient dunging material is used.
  3. Ensure that the crew follow SOLAS VGM regulations all the time.
  4. When packing, transporting and loading containers on board.
  5. Keep the below mentioned factors in mind while cargo packaging:
    i. Weight distribution in the container should be equal.
    ii. Ignore concentrating heavy weights at one side of the containers.
    iii. Check for leakage in the container before loading cargo.
    iv. Proper labeling of the cargo outside of the container should be done.
  6. Climatic condition also plays an important role in the cargo damage especially when the ship moves from one hemisphere to another.
  7. We should also check that the door of the container is properly closed and sealed using rubber seal gasket and in good condition.

External factors affecting cargo damage


It plays an important role because the weather at sea is determined by the season in which it is sailing. Also, the dwt is less in other season compare to that of summer.


The exporter over weights the container to save some money which makes it difficult to operate at sea.

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