President of the Guild of Marine Surveyors, Mr M C Ogadinah, during his presentation at theRoundtable on Cargo Exposure to Risks of Damage, Loss and Delay at Nigerian Ports and Terminalsorganised recently in Lagos by the Cargo Defence event held penultiimateTuesday in Apapa, said that the cargo surveyor plays a vital role in accounting, on behalf of the cargo owner, for the extent of damage or loss of their cargo acting as an expert witness that not only inspects the cargo but also reports their loss or damage.
“The cargo surveyor is the inspector and reporter of marine cargo loss and damage. He is concerned about how the cargo is stacked, stowed and how it was discharged at the point of discharge and thereafter issues a report which is the basis of claim settlement,” he said.
Ogadina iterated that with cargo surveyors, cargo owners can harness their claims settlements without difficulties even as he noted that the incidences of the damage or loss of cargo at the nation’s ports can be reduced significantly if government agencies keep proper documentation of cases of cargo damage or loss.
“NPA, for example, have surveyors working for them at the ports. Are they concerned about damaged cargo? No! Do they give reports about damaged cargo? The answer is no! So, if there is a loss what do you do as an importer? Who would tell you that your cargo that arrived at the port is damaged?” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, Chairman Nigeria Ports Consultative Committee, Otunba Kunle Folarin, has said that it would be difficult to locate the party liable for the damage or loss of a cargo as long as that cargo undergoes the process of multiple handling.
Folarin said that with the complexities witnessed in the process of multiple modes of transport handling a cargo, it would be difficult to locate where the damage of a cargo occurred and to attribute the liability of the damaged cargo to a particular transport service provider.
He explained that with the disparities in the requirements of the various modes of transport for the purpose of cargo handling, conflicts arise in the process of using two or more modes of transport in the handling of a particular cargo exposing it to risks of damage, loss and delay.