By Ton Schox, Cunningham Lindsey Marine
Cunningham Lindsey Marine independently inspects the approved warehouse locations on application for the MMTA approval and every two years after that (https://www.mmta.co.uk/warehouse-registration/). The inspections are coordinated through the Rotterdam office on agreed upon fee rates and reporting templates.
Typical warehouse risks
A marine surveyor travels all around the world and comes across many situations. When comparing these situations to the conditions of the warehouses in Europe, they can quite often be different! The Warehouse committee asked me to share some of our findings as observed during our surveys. A non metal-related example not involving an MMTA member has been taken.
On one occasion I was asked to conduct an investigation into numerous containerized shipments of bags of tea. These containers showed a considerable short weight upon unloading at the various final destinations. As the common factors all pointed in one direction, my investigations led me to the country of origin, Kenya, and in particular to a couple of warehouses in Mombasa.
One of the investigations was to look at the logistic process of the various warehouses.
As a surveyor you are always have a kind of sixth sense for special circumstances. I noted during the inspections that in general the warehouses were in a good condition, well-constructed and properly roofed. I was shown one of the warehouses, which at one side was quite full with palletized bags of tea, stacked two pallets high. The tea was packed either in multiple paper or jute bags, as illustrated below..
In one of the other corners of the shed, vacuum packing of the tea was in full progress by means of sealing the bags. Packing material was stacked nearby.
Just to kill some time, I went to one of the other warehouses and after walking around I noticed some irregularities.
Empty pallets and a lot of other debris were stacked against the outside of the warehouse wall surrounding an inoperable hose.
What would happen in a case of fire?
Inside, the warehouses were quite full with palletized bags of Kenyan tea.
Unfortunately these pallets were obstructing any firefighting equipment present in the shed. No safe corridors had been made. We rolled out one of the hoses to see if any water would come out, however this was not the case as the system was not connected to the public water system.
The fire extinguishers present were either over date or incomplete.
We discussed these shortcomings with the warehouse manager. It must be said that the building itself was in a good condition and the inside was kept clean. The maintenance of the firefighting equipment was carried out by a third party and the warehouse manager did not realize in what state the equipment was. Also the lack of water took her by surprise.
After our visit the warehouse manager immediately started to change things, and the photos below show a completely changed warehouse with all the equipment in good working condition.
In connection with the investigations, we also discussed the presence of the surveillance cameras. Sufficient cameras were in place and they were all found to be working.
The cameras recorded typical warehouse activities including the loading operations of the containers. In this case, the shortages were noted at final destination after shipping and transport to final destination.
By the time the containers were opened up and the shortages ascertained, the recording from the loading operations had already been automatically deleted.
On paper these warehouses were considered to be a “good” risk, however in practice this was not the case. A ‘quick scan” is quite often sufficient to improve the risk.
And the shortages?
Later we discovered that the shortages, as ascertained at final destination, had occurred during the stay of the containers at the Mambas terminal.
Cunningham Lindsey is a global loss adjusting, claims, management and risk solutions firm with a 100 year track record. We’ve worked on daily basis with people who find themselves in highly stressful situations. We are one of the largest loss adjusting and claim management companies in the world. With over 6,000 skilled staff in over 600 global offices we aim to be first on the scene, putting together specialist response teams when catastrophes happen. Right people, Right Place, Right Time!
The Specialist Practice Group Marine is the specialist entity within Cunningham Lindsey with considerable experience in providing independent, client focused services to the Marine industry. The dedicated staff of surveyors and adjusters covers all aspects of transportation risks.
Head Marine Continental Europe
Marine Specialist Practice Group Leader
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