What is a Marine Surveyor and what role do they play in International Shipping?
Marine Surveyors are third parties hired to ensure a smooth and safe movement of goods. A surveyor can observe and document many different aspects of your shipment and more importantly they can protect your interests should any legal disputes arise.
Several types of surveys I have found useful are:
- Antonov loading and discharging – for heavy lift and/or high value cargo
- Vessel loading – to ensure cargo is loaded without incident
- Ship/barge conditions – to be certain carrier is seaworthy to handle the cargo
- Damage assessment – used if cargo has been dropped or packaging has been damaged to detail the status of the shipment
- Container surveys – required if purchasing a shipper owned container that needs to be inspected and certified prior to shipment
- Railcar loading and tie-down – used to ensure compliance with Railroad specifications
- Heavy lift survey – done at point of origin, port, airport or destination to ensure cranes used are sufficient for the cargo
- Packing survey – done before cargo is shipped to ensure cargo is seaworthy
If you hire a surveyor, ask for a formal survey report upon completion of the job so you have all the details regarding your shipment. The final report should include pictures and outline any concerns or problems encountered. Surveyors will also make recommendations if any issues arise, which helps avoid problems with future shipments.
Costs for surveying are calculated using a base rate plus travel expenses.
Surveyors are not usually engaged for small or routine shipments but any time the size, value or complexity rises or timeliness is very important, using a surveyor can be a very wise investment, especially if any problems arise along the way.