Meat cargo. Strategy of acceptance or how to liquidate cargo losses

Anyone who ever carried on wholesale trade of meat cargoes faced with the problem of shortages. And everyone who faced with this problem know how difficult to find responsible party who can be claimed for such losses. Where these losses come from and how to fight against it? An answer for this question we will try to give you below.

When correct acceptance of meat cargo at the destination point, there quite often net weight shortage is revealed.

There are two main methods to determine net weight of meat cargoes:

First is summation of net weights that are marked on labels on each carton (so-called acceptance according to labels), The second method is cargo weighing on scales of warehouse (gross weight) with following subtraction of tare weight in order to determine net weight of cargo. It is hard to talk about which way is more accurate because both have disadvantages.

In case of cargo acceptance by labels without weighing, weights that are written by producer are taken for truth. If, for example, producer declares higher net weight on labels than in fact, with such method of acceptance it is impossible to reveal shortage. This shortage will appear later during cargo sale for meat-processing complex or wholesale customer.

As practice shows, during acceptance of cargo by “marking” shortages reveal rarely and this is not surprising: producer sums weights up automatically and only in case of some breakdown there is possible discrepancy of net weight in bill of lading and in labels. Moreover such method of acceptance is difficult enough because requires additional operating time, usage of printing calculators and special experience in work of acceptors (inspectors, tallymen).

The other most common method of determination of net weight is weighing of all consignment with the purpose of determination of gross weight, then determination of tare weight and, finally, calculation of net weight. What unpleasant surprises does this method have?

Let’s imagine that we took meat from cartons separated it of polyethylene and other package and weighted on high-accuracy weights. We have got accurate net weight! But what prevent us to do it? Unfortunately, firstly we can’t, for obvious reasons, to take meat out of package and, secondly, there are no weights without inaccuracy.

Therefore, there is opportunity to determine net weight with certain accuracy within the limits 50-100 kg for one standard 40-foot container with cargo with weight of 25 tons (or 0,2-0,4% of total cargo weight). For accuracy increase in this method of weight determination it is necessary to carry out following requirements: weights must be verified by state verifying agency and have appropriate certificate and must be checked (don’t mix up with verification!) by acceptor (inspector) or surveyor immediately before cargo weighing.

In order to determine tare weight it is necessary to take, at least, 10 empty cartons together with plastic or another kind of package, to weight it in high-accuracy electronic weights and calculate average weight of one empty carton. Now it remains to subtract tare weight of gross weight and get net weight. Tare weight in it’s turn is summed of empty cartons weight and wooden pallets weight.

So formula of calculation is easy:

net= Pgrosstare,

Where gross – is determined by weighting meat in package and weight of wooden pallets, and tare – is the weight of all empty cartons and also of plastic package and wooden pallets.

Obviously that if in the first way of calculation methodological inaccuracy prevails, in the second way of calculation instrumental inaccuracy is critical. As far as it is impossible to avoid these inaccuracies claim procedures of many producers and international traders provide for franchise from 100 to 250 kg per container consignment.

In order to avoid losses of weight shortages if cargo weight declared by producer incorrectly the author of this article recommends to weigh all the consignment and always control accuracy of scales. If nevertheless consignee inclines to take net weight from labels (marking) during acceptance then it is necessary to weight the cargo for checking from time to time.

However the reason of weight shortages unfortunately maybe also, not someone’s mistakes or instrumental inaccuracy of weights. These shortages may be caused by careless warehouse staff, especially if the warehouse accepts for safekeeping and delivers cargo both by the weight. We had met incident when there were two scales at one warehouse: for cargo acceptance and for cargo loading.

After both scales were verified it was found that scales for acceptance showed 1 percent less and the scales for loading showed 2 percent more. So what does it turn out? Thanks to these “inaccuracies” it was possible to “keep” up to 3 percent of all cargoes that are stored at warehouse. Thus warehouse could have 750 kg of cargo as “surplus” from container. Strict control during cargo acceptance and loading is the only measure to fight against shortages.

Nowadays survey companies help to reveal and prevent cargo shortages. Common as certaining of the weight shortage is insufficient if the cargo owner wants to get compensation for loss. That’s why advanced survey companies that actively work with meat cargo don’t limit themselves by providing survey report along.

The list of services includes also providing with technical means of transportation safety, providing with statistics over all warehouses in two capitals (Moscow and Saint-Petersburg), coverage of liability for breakage for cargo quantity and weight, and video recording of loading and unloading process. The war to shortages is declared and, who knows, probably in several years cargo shortages will become rare event and there will be no need in survey services…

Written by: Evgeny Novikov

TopFrame Ltd.