Agricultural cargo survey: eliminate problems before loading

June 2, 2018

Nowadays, when hundreds of millions tons of agricultural commodities are traded around the world every year, it is essential to ensure that the supplied commodities are safe, of satisfactory quality and supplied in required quantity.
International cargo survey companies are present in the market to offer technically customized cost effective solutions for agricultural commodities inspections. The cargo surveyor’s personnel monitor every critical point in the supply chain to cover all elements of control. They carry out surveillance during inspection and cover laboratory analysis, stock monitoring, audits, and other types of related consultancy.
Typical agricultural cargoes surveyed are: wheat, barley, corn, crude vegetable oils (sunflower oil, rapeseed oil), peas, millet, sunflower seeds, rapeseeds, meals and cakes, raw sugar, white sugar, fertilizers and others
It is important that agricultural cargo survey should be made in accordance with the rules adopted in the industry. It will ensure that the customers’ risks are reduced when comprehensive inspection is in place, sampling as per contract guidelines & close consistent monitoring of cargo and vessels are made. 
Global cargo survey companies offer a range of customized integrated solutions for clients dealing with agricultural cargoes. The cargoes are analyzed for compliance with relevant international standards including EN, CODEX, ICC, ISO, GOST, DSTU and others.
Here is an example of a standard solution offered by agricultural cargo surveyors to ensure the cargo is safe, quality and quantity is in compliance with the contract:

  • Loading survey and discharge survey operations
  • Vessel hatch/hold and tank Cleanliness inspection
  • Water tightness of hold/ hatch
  • Draft survey and tank gauging for weight
  • Supervision of weighing 
  • Visual inspection and report on condition
  • Contractual sampling of AGRI cargoes as per GAFTA / FOSFA / IFA /SAL Rules/Guidelines
  • Laboratory testing and analyses
  • Inspection reporting

What may cause problems for agricultural cargo at loading?

Grains and other Agri cargoes are very sensitive and can deteriorate quickly after loading into the ship’s holds in case some important rules are not followed
What may cause problems for agricultural cargo and what should be noted at loading port, before loading into ship’s holds?

The grains cargo is not dry enough:
Grains moisture should be measured regularly during loading to ensure that it is in conformity with the contractual specification. Portions of wet grains should be rejected by the surveyor and sent back for drying. Mixing wet lots with dry lots is not a good practice and can lead to serious damage to the whole parcel as the grains may get smelly, lumpy, overheated, mouldy during the ship’s voyage. These problems will be evident upon opening the ship’s hatches in the discharge port.

The weather is rainy and the air is moist:
The grains can get wet which is very bad for subsequent carriage in the ship's holds.

The ship’s holds are not fit for loading grains:
The holds should be cleaned before receiving grains or other agricultural cargoes. No foreign smell, no remains of previous cargoes, no pests, no peeling rust and the holds should be dry and water tight.

The grains cargo is infested: 
Infestation will develop during transit and depending on the voyage duration and ambient condition it is possible that at discharge you will find that insect damage is really heavy.

The cargo is damaged with disease:
For example if some part of wheat cargo is damaged with karnal bunt and you mix damaged lot with the sound lots of wheat the entire wheat consignment will be affected and spoiled.

Some quality parameters do not meet contractual specification:
For example for milling wheat it can be that Protein content is lower, or Falling Number is too low or too high, W is low, Wet Gluten is low.

Some safety parameters do not meet national requirement:
For example for sunflower seed meal sometimes Cadmium content (Cd) is above the limit? for corn it can be Aflatoxin B1 or Fumonisin. There are also plenty of other safety parameters that should be tested and the surveyor shall make sure they are in accordance with the requirements.

Take good care of your agricultural cargo at loading, before it is too late.