Seafast – Plain English Liability

At Seafast, we take pride in our professionalism and expertise. Our primary role as a freight forwarding agent is to facilitate the best transport solution for our clients. We act on your behalf to arrange transport services in accordance with your instructions. But it is important to note that we are not the transport operator who trucks, ships or stores your goods. We arrange on your behalf for these operators to provide their services to you. So if the goods are lost or damaged whilst in their care, custody or control we can assist you to make a claim against the responsible party, but we are generally not the party directly responsible for the loss or damage.

The logistics chain can be extremely long and complex. By way of example, a typical movement of cargo might pass through the following stages:

Collection from suppliers warehouse, Driving to depot, Unload at depot, Storing at Depot, Loading goods into container, Loading container onto truck, Unloading truck at wharf, Repositioning of container at wharf, Loading of container onto vessel, Stacking of containers on vessel, Vessel sailing port to port, Unstacking of containers/restacking at mid ports, Unloading of vessel at destination, Movement of container on wharf, Stacking of container/unstacking, Cartage of container to unpack depot, Unpacking of container, Movement of goods within container during transit, Storage at depot, Movement of goods around depot, Loading of truck, Transit to destination, Unloading of truck at destination.

Damage and or loss to your cargo could occur at any one of these stages. Often it is only upon outturn that the loss/damage is discovered and then it is a difficult matter of proving at which stage the damage occurred and who is responsible. Our role is to assist you in this process.

But that is not the end of the story. Most transport operators, be they domestic hauliers or international ship operators, offer their services strictly on terms and conditions that will either limit their liability or exclude their liability entirely. This means that even if you can prove who has damaged your goods you may not be legally entitled to recover from them. This is common place in the domestic and international transport industries. Seafast operates with limited liability provisions in order to protect itself from cargo claims that far exceed the recoverable amounts from the responsible parties.

This is why it is so important for you to arrange for your goods to be insured if you wish to be fully protected from the risks associated with transporting your goods. A marine cargo insurance policy, either for a specific shipment or an annual policy to cover all sendings, is the easiest way to protect your interests. If you have arranged cargo insurance, you will be quickly and fully compensated and the problem of recovery against the responsible transport operator will be for your cargo insurer..not you.

We hope that this helps you understand some of the complexities involved in the logistics chain, including our role as your agent and the issue of adequate insurance. As always we are here to assist in any way we can.