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Why do containers get stowed and discharged incorrectly..??

There are a lot of cases across all the shipping lines whereby containers get stowed on board a ship to the incorrect destination and discharged at the incorrect destination.. Why does this happen..??

More often than not, the number one reason for the incorrect stowage and discharge would be improper documentation submitted to the port and vessel operator by either the client or their hauliers.. It is also possible that due to human error people working at the port or shipping line could enter incorrect data even though correct data was provided by the client.. 

  1. When a container is taken into any port, there is a document or system entry done (CTO/Navis in the case of South Africa) where the container number, size/type, weight and destination of the container is updated..
  2. At the port, the container gets stacked on the ground in the relevant destination stack in order to facilitate easy loading when the ship starts working..
  3. The port and vessel operator use this document/system to decide which stow position on the ship, this container must be loaded..
  4. If the destination shown in that document/system is incorrect, then the container is already in the incorrect stack and from there it will get stowed on the ship to be discharged at the destination shown in the document/system..
  5. It is also possible that the port could also make a mistake when entering the details of the container into their system even if the documentation submitted by the haulier is correct..
  6. Normally the port list (listing the containers in the port for a particular vsl/voy) is cross checked against the load list from the lines system, however, this is a very tedious process as it has to be done manually considering the volumes that is loaded on each ship..
  7. If the container gets stowed incorrectly, it is quite a process to rectify it as it involves a lot of corrective work, costs and more importantly time.. See my previous article (Container Stowage Planning and how it works) in this regard..

So in everyone’s interest, it is imperative that the correct destination and routing is used when taking the container into the port and also to cross-check the entry made by the port (where possible) and ensure that the container is stowed and discharged at the correct destination that it was meant to go..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..



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