Who is Responsible for the Cost of Over-Lashing?
When more lashings than needed are applied to a cargo on board, unnecessary costs have been made and valuable time has been lost. There are several parties involved in the process. From a shipping line, engineering company, freight forwarder, asset owner, insurance company to a supercargo and even surveyor(s).
When cargo is available on the market, an asset owner will offer it himself or through a freight forwarder. The freight forwarder checks who can transport the cargo from A to B, including a quotation for lashing and securing.
Sometimes basic criteria are shared, that shipping lines need to take care of.
This is where the process for the engineering department of the shipping lines starts. They start with engineering stowage, lifting and lashing and securing plans. Mostly free of charge in this phase of the process. For example, the Lashing & Securing plans are based on requirements from the asset owner. Additional questions will be addressed to the freight forwarder who on his turn will request these from the asset owner.
When working this way, the freight forwarder receives a quotation from each shipping line, including drawings and time schedule particulars. After a thorough study, he offers one or two options to the asset owner.
The asset owner is in close connection with the insurer and will check if more lashings or load spreading is needed. However, the point here is, the shipping line cannot change their quotation very often anymore. They would like to ship the cargo and already calculated with a safety margin, so usually they do not want to come back on their offer.
Most likely, the engineering department shipping line calculated the forces on the cargo and applied sufficient lashings on their plan. They do not want to take the risk for damages to the cargo and the vessel, as well as the safety for both of them. Every additional request is extra.
Once the vessel arrives in the port, surveyors will come on board and the operation will be discussed with the supercargo, this is where the actual story starts. Very often, discussions arise whether the applied lashing is sufficient or not, as the shipping line already agreed on this with the asset owner and/or their insurance. The onsite surveyors as independent parties each demand more lashings. Depending on their role in process.
The supercargo admits that a few additional chains are not an issue, as long as this would give green light to complete the operation successfully.
However, sometimes people ask for more, too much lashings. Applying all these additional items costs a lot of money and lot’s of unnecessary time. Additional time the vessel had to wait in the port.
Welding additional stoppers, clips or D-rings will also ‘damage’ the vessel in a certain way, as it has to be cut off in the discharge port.
Now the question arises; “who is going to pay for the additional expenses?”
The shipping line agreed the engineering plan with the asset owner or their insurance on beforehand.
The receiving company who wanted more lashings was not involved in this phase, but still have a saying in all this.
For an insurance company, the more lashing the better! So if a surveyor asks for more lashing it is usually also okay for them, same goes for all the non-paying parties. But more lashing and securing means less profit for the shipping line, if they have to pay the additional costs on what they already had to pay.
The shipping lines suffered already much because of the crisis and the low market prices.
Mostly asset owners profit from the low market prices as they can deliver their goods as usual, but now cheaper.
One of the solutions would be an Agreed Safety Percentage (ASP).
Calculate to 100 percent safety and add an additional five or 10 percent, depending on what will be agreed among the parties. Probably this will have a huge impact on the market. Suddenly you need to proof that what you do or say holds ground. Saying you are right will not be done just by saying the word, but you have to proof it now. By working this way, everybody knows what comes ahead and of course more lashings can be applied, but then you have to pay for it yourself…
Will van 't Hek is spokesman for Videck.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.