Wilhelmsen insights

Cargo Hold Preparation and Cargo Loss Prevention

Bulk Carrier, the Work Horse of the Sea!
Hatch Cover

Wilhelmsen insights |

Bulk carriers play an important role in the maritime industry. They move massive cargo from one point to another. To ensure a smooth process, it is critical to prepare the cargo hold each time these bulk carriers make a trip. Careful planning is the best way to ensure your cargo arrives safely to its destination. 

Hold preparation is a process that should not be taken lightly as an unprepared hold will lead to a number of issues like off-hire, delays and additional costs to engage shore teams and Charter Party (CP) related disputes. Besides that, it is estimated that unprepared hold will lead to bigger claims related to cargo quality, contamination, and breach of CP guaranteed warranties.

Hold preparation may include several steps including dry sweep, removal of previous cargo residues, freshwater rinse as well as final inspection. Ventilation is often overlooked but in fact, it the easiest and most effective way to ensure your cargo’s integrity throughout the voyage. Ventilation is defined as the supply of fresh air into any given space and in this case, it means the provision of fresh air into the cargo hold.

Ventilation is a vital step because it helps to minimize the formation of sweat by dew point control, assists in removing hazardous gases, prevent the tainting and excessive heating of the cargo.

Here’s a general rule for when to ventilate:

  • Cargo under fumigation - DON'T Ventilate
  • Dew point
    • Cargo cold, outside hot – DON'T Ventilate
    • Cargo hot, outside cold – Ventilate

From our experience, there are 2 main causes for cargo claims including wet damage and cargo contamination. In fact, 35% of all insured bulk carriers suffer cargo claim due to shortage or wet damage. The average cost for a bulk carrier wet damage cargo claim is estimated to be around USD100,000. Leaking hatch covers are the most common cause for wet damage. As for cargo contamination, it is usually caused by either physical or vapour contamination. 

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Hence, it is important to understand the requirements of your cargo and carriage to enable a good hold preparation process. In this case, preparation is always key to avoid complications and loss.

WSM has more than 40 years of experience managing bulk carriers of all sizes with special focus on maintaining hatch covers, cargo cranes, cargo holds and ballast tanks. Read more about our Bulk Carrier services by clicking on the link