Cargo Claims and Damage Prevention

Cargo Loading and Damage Prevention Responsibilities

December 29, 2016

It has always been and continues to be "K" Line’s goal to have strong relationships with our vendors and customers. That is why we find it important to communicate our findings and some guidance regarding a very important issue – cargo and container damage prevention. We seek your assistance in this effort that will result in minimizing potential damage to your cargo, our containers, as well as, reduce the risk of injury or death. Items discussed below include trucker and loading facility requirements for ensure suitability of container, cargo load patterns, blocking and bracing, and appropriate hazardous material issues.

While it is “K” Line’s intention to provide you with containers that are structurally sound by conducting constant inspections, it is a very difficult process to manage considering all the external parties associated and a variety of other factors associated. In many instances, truckers fail to conduct their own visual inspections since they are paid by the load and are in a hurry. We ask that you assist in our initiative by issuing instructions to the trucking companies that you hire to ensure a visual check is made prior to choosing a container. It is "K" Line’s procedure that our nominated truckers for door moves inspect the container for suitability prior to leaving the facility.

1) Trucker Responsibilities:

Basic visual inspections:


If evidence is apparent that damaged corner posts, corner fittings, framework, walls, floor, roof or door closures weaken the container, it should simply not be used.

Holes: There should not be any obvious holes or tears. Standing inside the container and closing the doors will determine whether there are holes/tears if daylight can be seen. Holes/ tears can allow water entry causing significant damage to packaging and cargo.

Doors: No broken or distorted door hinges, locks. Door seals and gaskets should be in good condition.

Tilts: Where containers are fitted with removable roof tilts or side curtains, they should fit correctly, be equipped with tilt wires and have no tears in the fabric.

Placards, Labels and/or marks: Any labels remaining on the outside of the container which refer to the contents of a previous shipments’ cargo must be removed by regulatory mandate. Residual placards after DG has been removed from containers is prohibited per 49CFR Part 172.502

Cross members: A quick view of the underside of a mounted container will reveal the cross members. There should not be any missing adjacent members.

CSC Plate: A Safety Approval Plate should be affixed.


Clean: Containers should be free of residue (liquids or solids), dust, dirt or dunnage. Floors should not have any protruding nails, bolts, or special fittings from prior shipments that can result in punctures and tears.

Dry: The interior should be dry and free of any residue, sweat or frost.

No infestation: There should be no evidence of pests, insects or rodents, which might contaminate cargo.

Taint-free: For goods with the tendency to absorb odors, the container should be checked for foul odors upon opening of the doors when any residual odors would be at their strongest.

Watertight: There should be no obvious holes / tears. Take care when standing inside and closing the doors observing if any daylight can be seen. Holes/ tears can allow water entry causing significant damage to packaging and cargo. Also, daylight should not be visible through the doors or floors since water can enter during road transportation as well.

2) Responsibility of the loading facility:

The facility should also check the container for suitability prior to loading cargo. The facility should immediately notify K Line upon discovering equipment damage and provide digital photos, when possible.

Cargo should be carefully planned and loaded to ensure proper weight distribution, adequate block and bracing of cargo to avoid the varying movements while on the ocean, rail and truck segments of transportation. (IE: rolling and pitching of a vessel, shunting of railcars, speed, turns and quick braking on highway)

Cargo weight: The planned cargo should not weigh more than the maximum payload of the container. The maximum gross weight of the container (which includes the payload) is marked on the CSC Safety Approval Plate.

Blocking and Bracing: It is essential to secure cargo from movement within the container to prevent damage. The walls and the doors are not to be considered blocking and bracing.

Suggested guidance tools for proper blocking and bracing:

**Requirements for ALL shipments that include North American railroad transportation (in part or solely): Various rail vendors include guidance and suggestions on their websites based upon AAR (American Association of Railroads) requirements for ALL shipments moving on North American Railroads.

The AAR Loading Guidelines can be downloaded at:

The railroad Damage Prevention Teams provide assistance in determining a safe load plan and proper securing methods and products free of charge. Below are railroad resources specific to damage prevention and loading guidelines:

BNSF Railway:

Canadian National Railway (CN):

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP):

CSX Railway:

Norfolk Southern Railway (NS):

Union Pacific Railway (UP):

Suggestions according to IMDG – Supplement for loading cargo (Do’s and Don’ts)

Other pertinent details the stuffing facility should check after cargo loading:

Placards/ Marks: Dangerous Goods Placards/ marks, if appropriate, should be affixed in the recommended positions.

* It is also worth noting that USA railroads require placement of placards at least 6 feet from the bottom rail to ensure visibility in a rail car. Placards that are placed lower than the recommended height will result in delays and costs for re-applying the placards.

* * Be sure to remove placards and marks from the container at once after the dangerous commodities have been removed from the container. (See #3)

(DG placard requirements per IMDG)

New Position


a) Dimension:  equal or larger than 250mm x 250mm

b) Durability:  able to withstand 90 days water immersion

c) Position: ( for US) about 1.8 m above the bottom rail of equipment
   (for other area) about 1.2 m --- 1.8 m above the bottom rail

3) Responsibility of the consignee/ receiver of the Container Transport Unit (CTU)


Document Change Log

Version December 29, 2016:

Version: October 7, 2014:

Version: November 3, 2015:

Version January 15, 2014: