Packaging damage liability for overseas shipments

centurycollege2There is an interesting article by www.internationallawoffice.com/  on who has liability for packaging damage during overseas transport; the carrier or the shipper?   There are international laws that do apply to damage but there are no specific guidelines for packaging and handling.    The carrier’s liability is specified in section 275 of maritime code.   It basically states that the carrier is liable for damage unless it proves that the loss is due to inadequate packaging.    Determining if the packaging is adequate is a little vague and considerations include what is “normal” or “customary packaging” for a product type.

Customary or normal may be easy to determine for products that are routinely exported such as automobiles, but it may be difficult to characterize what “normal” is on products that are unique and rarely shipped.

For products that are sensitive to shock, vibration, tilting or extreme temperatures, a carrier could easily claim that any damage was due to packaging and it may be difficult to prove otherwise. Rulings on these types of cases could easily go against the shipper.

When shipping overseas:

  • Make sure that you fully understand the terms and conditions from both your carrier and insurance company in regard to damage incurred during shipping.
  • Use a well designed packaging system that will protect your product from any expected shock and vibration that may occur during transit. Custom foam packaging is usually ideal for protecting your product.    There are many choices for foam; Packnet can assure that you use the best foam for the application.  Custom foam can be used with wood crates, hard shipping cases and plastic containers.
  • Use shock, vibration, tilt and environmental monitoring systems on your packaging. ShockWatch has a variety of solutions for monitoring or measuring the trauma your package may see during transit.   These devices will clear up any issues about the carrier mishandling the package.

Using a well designed packaging system along with good impact monitoring should go a long way to discourage any carrier from claiming that the damage was due to poor packaging.   For more information on Packnet’s foam solutions, go to its custom foam packaging web page.  For more information on ShockWatch products, please refer to our impact and handling monitoring web page.