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Thursday 6 August 2009

So what if deck cargo is cheaper?

(You are getting this note because you subscribed to Brad Skelton's blog-The Shipping Bloke)

Cargo integrity is my absolute priority. That's why I rarely, if EVER, load heavy machinery on the deck of vessels. It is absolute last resort. There literally has to be no other way to get the cargo to that destination before I will even vaguely consider it. Even then, I do my level best to make my client completely aware of the risks, accept them, notify their underwriters and protect the cargo as much as possible.

I have frequently lost business to competitors who come in cheaper because they are taking that risk with clients cargo. Worse still sometimes they don't even tell the client they are putting the cargo on deck and profiteer. I'd rather not handle the shipment than risk damaging the cargo and my relationship with my customer with it.

It's not that risky you say.... and if you can save a few bucks then....why not? Check these links out and then answer that question.
Strike 1.

Strike 2.

Strike 3.
If waves can come over the deck of the "USS Kitty Hawk" 102 feet from the water line then.... Game over.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

The Shipping Bloke.


  1. Beware on deck cargo.
    Some years ago I was enlisted to ship a CKD house to Norfolk Island. The only service was then and still is a breakbulk service discharged ovber the side of the mother vessel into lighters ( essentially 8m long 2m wide towable dinghy's ). Despite meticulous planing on arrival at Yamba Port the hatches were full and the only way the roof trusses for the house could be shipped was on deck. After frantic calls to the owner detailing the risks etc permission was given. All was well until about 2 years later the roof on the house collapsed. The manufacturer visited the Island and was at a loss to explain why every single nail and gang plate holding the truss together had rusted and failed. During his stay whilst having a beer in the local RSL he got talking to one of the local lighterage crew who explained the truss had been carried on deck, then all became clear. Despite the trusses being tarped up and securely lashed salt water inevitably soaked the trusses, the galvanised fittings and nails were simply not made to handle this exposure. Lesson here is the consequences of shipping on deck can manifest themselves months, in this case years after the event.

  2. Thanks Chris.
    Another one is where the bulldozer for example seemingly travelled well and was delivered free of damaged. Until.3-6 months later the osmosis draw seawater up through the wiring and into computers. Everyone wonders why the machine is suddenyl unreliable.