Cargo Damage? Types And Way To Prevent It


Manufacturers and suppliers may experience cargo damage during transit in a number of different ways. First, defective goods are frequently returned for replacement or a full refund, which not only results in additional expenses but may also harm the reputations of both the seller and the carrier.

Second, broken equipment, parts, and components frequently result in time loss. Since handling, humidity, temperature, contamination, vibration, impact, and static charges can all cause damage to tools, equipment, and other cargo, carriers must make sure that their cargo is protected.

There are several stakeholders involved in maritime container shipping internationally. This strategy has the significant benefit of enabling businesses to focus on various stages of the logistics process, significantly lowering costs, and expanding both efficiency and geographical reach. On the other hand, having so many parties involved in a single cargo might make it difficult to communicate and make roles or liabilities unclear.

Who may physically handle cargo on a typical international full container shipping route is listed below:

  • The supplier/factory loading the cargo.
  • The local trucker delivering the cargo to a local warehouse.
  • The local dray company moving the cargo from the warehouse to the terminal
  • The origin terminal
  • The transshipment terminal
  • The arrival port terminal
  • Customs or the customs warehouse (if there is any customs hold)
  • The local trucker at the arrival port for final delivery
Breakages, rolling, bumping, dropping, and being knocked all result in physical harm. Additionally, improper dunnage and lashing as well as poorly designed stowage lead cause damages. Poor stowage also involves inadequate, inaccurate, and inappropriate lashing, as well as a dearth of lashing supplies and insufficient chocking. Last but not least, unstable stowage comprises incorrect loading and uneven weight distribution.

Water Damage


Contamination Damage

When cargo has been subjected to poisoning or pollution, contamination occurs, making the items unfit for use in operational or industrial applications as well as for human consumption. There are several ways that cargo might get contaminated, including poor cleaning after prior shipments, insufficient separation from other types of cargo, incorrect storage, and exposure to contaminating agents.

Reefer Damage

Damage to equipment that is associated to a referral usually results from a power outage or improper handling. Damage can take the form of product discoloration, size deviation, bruising, overripeness, thawing, and decay. Poor airflow, inappropriate stowage, inadvertent human mistake, and insufficient temperature controls during refrigeration transport services are some of the common causes.

Infestation Damage

Damage from infestations can result from the presence of animals or insects in cargo, especially in agricultural items. It can make cargo unfit for human consumption or result in transit delays as a result of port authority inspections.


The danger of damage and related operational and financial losses should be reduced by importers, manufacturers, shippers, and freight forwarders. The right dunnage material and lashings must be used to limit movement and protect goods. Additionally, frozen cargo needs to be checked for desiccation, dehydration, fluid migration, black spots, flavor and color changes, and desiccation.

When shipping reefer containers, carriers must provide correct temperature controls and a current inspection certificate. It is important to carefully plan the weight distribution and stowage of items in containers. Last but not least, it’s crucial that drivers pick the right route and close all container doors while delivering goods that are vulnerable to water damage.


Choose Packaging and Pallets Carefully

The degree of protection your cargo requires should be taken into consideration when selecting everything from the packing supplies you use within boxes to the boxes themselves, pallets, wrap, and containers.

Fill in empty spaces in boxes using the proper packing materials to prevent contents from shifting, colliding with other items, or getting squashed when loaded onto a truck.

Pick your padding material wisely. For sensitive products, airbags, bubble wrap, or protective foam moulds work best, as do corrugated inserts.

Pallets should be built of the proper material, such as wood, metal, or plastic, be structurally solid and unwarped, and be slightly larger than the footprint of your goods. Choose a cover that protects against light and humidity to seal pallets, or choose one that is high-quality and water-resistant.

Fill Containers Wisely

Empty space is the enemy when it comes to loading containers and stacking pallets. Items are more likely to experience damage if they have more room to roll or move around, whether in a box or on a pallet.

Use the appropriate box size and fill empty spaces in boxes with the proper packaging to prevent the contents from shifting around due to an excessive amount of interior space.

Put heavier items on the bottom of pallets and stack boxes in an overlapping brick pattern. Instead of building a pyramid shape out of smaller boxes, make shipment units that are shaped like cubes.

Pallets shouldn’t be double stacked, especially if some of the fragile items put on top of some pallets. There should be no loose, individual boxes at the top of the pallet, and the top of your shipping container should be as flat as possible. In addition to being properly wrapped in the proper wrapping, cargo needs to be secured to the pallet with straps.

Use Damage Indicators

By identifying the places in the supply chain where your cargo is most stressed by impacts and vibrations, you can make decisions to lessen those effects. Damage indicators can assist you in this process.

When sending goods by air, for instance, there may be prolonged periods of vibration. You can use vibrating monitors to determine how much vibration is there and then use that knowledge to select a different shipping method that won’t put the goods under as much stress.

To acquire information regarding your typical shipping routes, start with shock testing. Your shipments’ overall impact and vibration stress will be visible, and you’ll be able to adjust the precise supply chain components that are causing the most harm.

Additionally, you can test various packaging techniques and materials to obtain quantifiable information about how much better or worse certain shipping routes and packaging are for the items in your boxes and pallets. When you know precisely where damage is happening and why, you may significantly reduce shipping costs.

Make Labels Clear

On your package labels and your bill of lading, be sure to indicate whether you are exporting pricey or fragile items. The information on labels describing how much weight may be placed on top of a product without destroying it should be printed on sturdy paper.

This knowledge will enable handlers to safeguard your shipment units from harm. Additionally, using clear, long-lasting labels helps guarantee that your goods arrive on time and undamaged.

Because damaged items and merchandise are typically unable to be sold, shipping damage can pose a serious danger to profits. But if you have the appropriate instruments at your disposal, you may exert more control than you might be aware over shipping and cargo damage.