Damaged Cargo: What Should You Do?

Damaged Cargo: What Should You Do?

Damaged cargo: The last thing that you want to hear is the cargo shipped from your site has been involved in some unfortunate accident, and it looks bad. So, what should you do?

Damaged Cargo: First Things First

Take a look at the freight and do a thorough inspection, noting any detail on each and every part of the component. You may also need to open crates to see if there’s any hidden damages.

List what exactly in the freight and what is not – missing or damaged, and take photos for safety measures.

damaged cargo
Hopefully we never have to go through that costly accident

Ensure the carrier, supplier, truck company, warehouse, insurance, and etc is notified of the incident as soon as possible and give cooperation whenever necessary and likely gives you some time to work on the issue.

Take note, depending on the location where the damage occurred (air, ocean, or warehouse), the time frame for claim damage might be different, hence doing so at the soonest is the best action.

Damaged freight should not be discarded and you need to salvage the cargo as much as you can, controlling the damage from spreading out as this is you obligation.

Potential loss associated with damaged cargo; Source: LinkedIn

Keep the whole package as intact as possible and fill out proper claim report (transportation, shipping, etc) for legal matters and pay the freight bill as soon as possible; the claim that you made will be covered by the insurance company (they might to see the damages themselves).

Documents Needed

Necessary documentation include a copy of:

  • Claim letter
  • Bill of lading and pacing slip
  • Freight bill
  • Invoice showing the amount paid for the goods
  • Photos, lists (including damages), or any relevant documents made during inspection to support the claim


Like Murphy’s Law, these accidents is inevitable and the only thing we can do is to do our best before it happen, and after it happen, preventing it from future. $800 million of damaged cargo claims in 2012 (for water shipments) and you certainly don’t want to be part of it – too much hassle to begin.

Source: 1,2

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