Carrying cargo onboard ships starts with loading the cargo at the load port or port of origin. Loading on a ship is a process where the cargo or goods required to be transported by ship from one place to another are placed on board. As there are various types of ships and innumerable types of cargo, the stowage and carriage processes for each cargo are different. The cargo is safely stowed on board a ship to transport and deliver it once it has arrived at the discharge port in the same condition it was received at the load port.
Assuming that the goods are damaged during transit, the shippers and/or the receiver will claim for the losses incurred by the ship’s owners or the shipping company. Hence it is of prime importance that during the voyage, the carriage conditions of the cargo being transported are met.
Some ships, such as container ships, have special arrangements for securing containers on board. These containers are also positioned as per their contents. Some cargoes carried inside containers are dangerous and must be placed away from other containers so that they are not hazardous and cause a danger to the ship and its crew.
Besides container ships, the planning of stowage on all other vessels is done by the chief officer in consultation with the master. The planning for stowage of container ships is generally done by planners ashore.
However, it is the responsibility of the ship’s crew to check and ensure the stowage plan is proper and does not affect the ship’s stability. Loading and discharging for most ships, such as containers, bulk carriers, general cargo, etc., are done with the assistance of the shore crew.
For tankers, the ship’s crew undertakes the entire operation from the port of loading to discharge under the supervision of the chief officer. It is of prime importance to agree with the stowage and carriage prerequisites of cargo on board to guarantee that the cargo isn’t damaged or defiled.
Some general cargoes and odd-shaped cargoes not only need to be secured and lashed properly but also need to have dunnage placed in the proper position so that the load is evenly distributed and the cargo does not shift due to the motion of the ship while sailing. Cargoes could be damaged in several ways, and claims could not only run into millions of dollars but also ruin the company’s reputation.
Consequently, having appropriate knowledge is fundamental about the cargoes on board your ship, their properties, and the required carrying conditions. This will help you transport the cargo and deliver it in good condition at the discharge port.