Few of us like to deal with claims, so here are some useful rules on how to protect yourself from unnecessary damage:
Make sure to take out a cargo insurance for the cargo you expect. This can even be arranged for after dispatch of the cargo, but can never take place after damage to the goods has occurred.
If you do not know how to arrange a cargo insurance Hecksher will be glad to handle this for you upon receipt of a written request.
Remember an ALL RISK insurance does not cover every risk!
Make sure that you know the conditions of carriage and liabilities of the NVOCC who is responsible for your goods. It may be difficult to recoup money from an unkown NVOCC that is not represented by a first class agent in your home country.
If you are facing a damage, make sure, that you
(or your warehouse) make a written exception (note of reserve) on the delivery document, to be signed also by the Carrier and/or stevedores or landing authority at delivery of goods, should the damage be apparent or within three days should there be a concealed loss and/or damage.
hold the carrier (possibly not only the NVOCC, but also the actual carrier), the forwarder, the shipper and the warehouse and any other party possibly involved in the transport, liable for damage by registered letter.
do not get upset, when the carrier rejects the claim. This is part of his standard claim-procedure!
do NOT DEDUCT your claim from freight and or duty charges payable to the carrier or the forwarder.
inform your insurance company in accordance to the conditions of the insurance policy.
invite every party involved in the transport chain to make a survey on the damaged cargo, by stipulating a date and place at which the cargo/equipment will be available for inspection. If you are not aware of any survey-inspector indicated by the insurers you should ask the intervention of the nearest LLOYDS AGENT to effect a survey (this survey inspector is also called Average Agent).
IMPORTANT: The Insured, the consignee or others on their behalf, are always bound to protect the recovery action of the Insurers in respect of those who are responsible for the loss and/or damage and to interrupt the period of prescription according to the terms of Law.
Your Insurance will require the following documentation:
Insurance policy or insurance certificate (original duly endorsed)
Bill of Lading (in airfreight: Airwaybill)
Copy of the claim letter to the carrier's agent
Original reply to claim letter
Copies of letters in which you hold the carrier responsible
Commercial invoice (the insurance does not pay more than the actual damage)
Packing list (incl. list of weights)
Carrier's short delivery certificate or letter
Any other document in respect of the loss and/or damage which may facilitate the adjustment of the claim.
Don't trust people who promise that they will not damage your goods during transportation. Trust the people who assist you in lowering your risk and choosing reliable business partners!