The following "Do's" and "Don't's" will help shippers
and receivers prepare an instructional manual or poster for their employees
education and guidance. Special emphasis should be placed on specific
problem areas for the commodities shipped by your Company, or for the
geographic regions in which your products are to be delivered.
- The proper procedures for receiving truck load traffic begin
with the security guard at the gate or with the supervisor responsible
signing for deliveries. It is imperative for them to inspect and confirm
that all seal numbers are recorded before they are broken. Instruct
drivers delivering full truckloads that you will record seal numbers
you can confirm that the seals were intact on arrival.
alert to the possibility of shortages on truckload shipments when the
driver hands you the seal with an explanation that he removed
it in order to open his doors prior to backing into your unloading
dock. While this might well be the case, your refusal to give a clear
record in these instances will prevent future tampering or removal
with seals without your supervision.
The origin seal numbers should
not be recorded on the bill of lading by the shipper. It enables a
receiving clerk who has a copy of the bill
of lading to copy those seal numbers on the delivering carrier's delivery
receipt without actually checking the seals on the vehicle. Shippers
should record the origin seal numbers on their internal records.
the vehicle has more than one door, check all doors for seals and record
the fact that all doors are, or are not, sealed, recording their
Watch for "gimmicks" devised by transportation cargo
thieves, professional organized crime rings and nonprofessionals to
integrity of seal records. If you catch a thief in the act, PROSECUTE.
The "word" will soon spread that your Company "means
One of the most effective means of reducing thefts
is to post a notice where drivers and dock workers must report, reminding
them that theft
of an interstate or foreign shipment is a federal offense (18 U.S.C.
659), and that the unauthorized breaking of a seal or lock on an interstate
or foreign shipment is a federal offense (18 U.S.C. 2117). Post the
fines and penalties in bold print!
18 U.S.C. Section 2117
BREAKING OR ENTERING CARRIER FACILITIES
Whoever breaks the seal or lock of any railroad car, vessel,
aircraft, motor truck, wagon or other vehicle or of any pipeline system,
interstate or foreign shipments of freight or express or other property,
or enters any such vehicle or pipeline system with intent in either
case to commit larceny therein, shall be fined not more than $5,000
not more than ten years or both
- Count and Inspect All Pieces. Keep
an UNLOADING TALLY. If your delivery is short or is damaged, note the
damage on the delivery
receipt in detail, and the have driver sign and date it at the same time.
On shortages, note which items were short, if possible. If damaged, be
specific and factual: "corners bent, wrapping torn, tarp torn and
shredded, two sheets missing", etc.
Shortage and damage notations
on the delivery receipt provide the evidence required to establish a "prima
facie" claim that the carrier
is liable for a loss or damage. The legal significance of these notations
should be explained to receiving personnel for better compliance and
understanding of the importance of their function in the distribution
If a delivery receipt with no indication of loss or damage is
obtained by the carrier and a discrepancy is discovered later, it becomes
loss or damage." This will severely limit your chances of full recovery
from the carrier.
All damage, even if only slight markings on the exterior
of a carton or skid, should be noted, because it may offer a clue to
damage to the
contents discovered later. If the banding, shrink or stretch wrapping
is broken upon receipt, inspect and count the contents in the driver's
presence. If any product is missing, write a clear exception notation
on the delivery receipt such as; "Two (2) ctns. Paint #1234 short."
should note that in the event of a claim that carriers have the right
to perform an inspection and will try to determine whether
the damage could have been discovered and noted at time of delivery.
If the answer checked is "yes," the carrier will generally
decline the resultant claim on the basis that the damage happened after
the delivery and, therefore, they are not liable.
- Take Photographs of
the damaged merchandise and of the trailer or car if the load has badly
shifted and damaged. If possible, get driver
in the picture along with the trailer number or license plate. Get
rail car number in the picture.
Record on the back of the photograph
the date, car, or trailer number, driver's name, carrier's name, identity
of shipment, etc., and sign
the photograph. Also record the time the shipment was inspected and
It is also recommended that video cameras be installed at all receiving
and shipping locations as well as at guard gates, and that films be
stored for future review when necessary.
- When a shortage or damage
is discovered, CALL the CARRIER IMMEDIATELY to give them an opportunity
to schedule an inspection (whether or not
an exception was noted on the delivery receipt) and confirm in writing
the date and time and the names of the persons who were notified. Also,
report all damage and shortages to the shipper in writing, particularly
if they are repetitive. Send photographs of the damage, as many shippers
do not know how well their packaging is performing in transit.
personnel must be trained in proper procedures in order to protect
the interests of the owner of the goods in damage situations.
An immediate call to the carrier with written confirmation builds credibility
in the eyes of the carrier and provides the beginning of hard documentary
evidence for the eventual claim file. It also establishes the time
schedule for the carrier to perform its inspection. If the carrier
fails to make
the inspection within the time limit, or within a reasonable time,
the consignee should perform the inspection and submit a copy of its
with its claim.
- Save all packaging! One of the most important steps
to take in cases of CONCEALED DAMAGE is to set aside the damaged goods
carrier's inspection. RETAIN ALL OF THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING.
to comply with this provision deprives the carrier of the opportunity
to inspect the goods and the packaging, which will in turn, severely
hinder your chances to recover damages (unless, of course, you have
preserved the evidence by taking photographs, obtained an affidavit
from the person
having actual knowledge of its condition, etc.).
- Create an "OS&D" area.
This area, used for retaining damaged goods and containers, should
be in a space that is out of the
way of the normal traffic in the receiving area so that further damage
or pilferage is not incurred by your own personnel in conducting normal
business. This area should also be secured against pilferage and theft.
- If a corporate policy manual exists, ensure that there is a section
devoted to "Receiving Practices" and that it contains the "Do's
and Don't's", herein, together with material relating specifically
to your products. In the absence of a formal manual outlining proper
receiving procedures, posters are a simple, inexpensive, and effective
method to educate the receiving personnel on the correct manner to
accept deliveries, perform inspections, and generally conduct business.
photos of damaged freight received by your company.
- Provide the receiving
department with INSPECTION FORMS so that they can perform factual
and precise inspections on those occasions when
the carrier waives the right to do so. In preparing such a form,
items which might more effectively describe your product and the
conditions which frequently exist on delivery based on your past experiences.
- Maintain a RECEIVING LOG. Record the date, arrival and departure
times, carrier's name and pro number, vendor's name and order number,
of goods, actual count, notation of damage, if any, and the initials
of the person making the entry. All of these pieces of information
could be used at a later date in documenting a freight claim.
Management should decide if receiving personnel should be given
a copy of the purchase order, as it often encourages personnel
each line without counting. Not having a copy of the purchase order
forces receiving personnel to actually count, inspect and/or weigh
- Rust. All metal products have a natural tendency to
rust, and therefore, special precautions must be taken to prevent
rusting in transit and
in storage. Receiving personnel must carefully inspect such products
evidence of rusting, and note the extent and degree of rusting
Delivery receipts must be noted in detail, such
Edges rusted on 2 coils, #_____and#_____.
Heavy rusting notes on #_________.
Light rusting noted on #_________.
Top sheet only rusted and pitted, etc.
- Refrigerated product should be
pierced with a thermometer to record pulp temperature rather than the
temperature of the package.
- Do not REJECT the shipment from the carrier unless:
a) The shipment is "practically worthless," considering the
cost of repair, salvaging, etc. (make sure to take photographs if you
do reject, and get the driver to acknowledge and confirm the damage
on a separate report).
b) The shipment may contaminate, infest or damage
other freight in your place of business. (Leaking drums, insects, etc.)
The reason for this rule is that the owner of a damaged shipment must
mitigate the loss to the greatest extent possible under the circumstances.
law presumes that the owner of the goods is in a better position to repair
the goods or maximize the salvage value of the damaged product
since it is in that business. The carrier usually cannot recoup as much
money as the owner of the goods can in the salvage market.
- Do not accept
deliveries without inspection. Marking the delivery receipt "subject
to further inspection" is not a good practice.
It does not help the claimant establish carrier liability, as the carrier
will generally allege that the real damage occurred after the product
The time to inspect and report on damage is while the
driver is present to sign and confirm the exception notation on the
Occasionally, the person charged with inspecting
deliveries is not available at the time of delivery. In such cases,
the inspecting party
that fact on the delivery receipt. It may explain why a shipment was
later discovered to be damaged, without an exception notation appearing
on the delivery receipt.
- Non-confirming goods should not be rejected
to the carrier if the carrier is not at fault. These goods should
be accepted and held for
disposition instructions from the seller.