Damaged Goods - how you can deal with this problem

Damaged Goods: Here’s how you can deal with this problem.

Shipping freight is a vital part of the supply chain. But as shipments move a long distance from the origin to the destination, damaged goods are not an unusual occurrence during transit. However, it’s the responsibility of the shipping company to ensure safe cargo transit and delivery. But some conditions are out of human control, […]

Shipping freight is a vital part of the supply chain. But as shipments move a long distance from the origin to the destination, damaged goods are not an unusual occurrence during transit. However, it’s the responsibility of the shipping company to ensure safe cargo transit and delivery. But some conditions are out of human control, leading to freight damage. Shippers often don’t understand why and how the damage or loss happens and the different types of damages. Many times they also don’t have any idea how to prevent the loss of time and money when dealing with damage claims. So, here’s an explanation of how freight is damaged and what you can do in such a situation.

How does freight get damaged?

How does freight get damaged

The most common type of damage freight encounters during transit is physical damage. This could be due to carelessness while handling the cargo, improper packaging and stacking, or even collisions. Weather-related causes like storms and flooding can also cause damage to freight. Other causes of freight damage include mechanical problems with the truck, incorrect labeling of cargo, and theft.

When it comes to dealing with damaged goods, shippers should take proactive steps to ensure minimal losses. It is always better to have a detailed inventory list that includes the item numbers and descriptions of all cargo items before shipping them out. This will help in filing claims for damages during transit sooner and more accurately. 

Shippers should also inspect their cargo after delivery and document any visible damages as proof before signing off on the shipment paperwork. Lastly, they should make sure to get appropriate insurance coverage for their shipments in case something goes wrong during transit.

Types of Damaged Goods 

In general, there are many types of freight damage. These include:

Physically Damaged Goods

This is the most common type of freight damage and is also the most self-explanatory. It may happen due to the cargo dropping, rolling, or breaking during transit. Insufficient lashing and incorrect stowage are the leading causes of freight damage. 

If you or your receiver receive the cargo showing the damage that wasn’t there before shipping, the carrier didn’t secure it properly. Or perhaps the trailer or container wasn’t adequately cleaned, which contaminated your cargo. 

Other reasons, such as exposure to condensation or water ingress through small holes in the container, can also cause freight damage. In order to claim physical damage, the freight must have visible signs of damage noted on the proof of delivery document.


This is an example of human error, leading to logistics issues. Shortages can occur due to a problem with the total number of pallets written on the Bill of Lading. But to claim for freight shortage, accuracy is the key to recovery. 

Your Original Bill of Lading for receiving the delivery must have the correct number of pallets, sacks, or goods in the shipment. Knowing the exact count of items before shipping and whether the same number made it to the receiver is essential for filing this claim.

Concealed Damaged Goods

Concealed damage is the trickiest to notice when receiving delivery because it is inside a box or covered with shrink wrap. Therefore, inspecting your cargo and checking the Bill of Lading before signing a proof of delivery document is crucial.

If you failed to notice the concealed damage, you’d have a hard time proving that you received damaged goods. Or you’ll only be able to receive 1/3rd of the value of goods with a claim. 

What to do if you end up with Damaged Goods?

Anything can go wrong with your freight during transit or delivery. But you can claim complete goods recovery by taking a proper course of action. Here we will guide you step-by-step through the process of handling damaged freight:

Conduct inspection for any damaged goods

When you receive your cargo delivery, conduct a proper inspection to check for visible or concealed damage. Check each item or part thoroughly and open boxes or crates if required. Identify any damage and record the details. If the driver is in a hurry, don’t feel intimidated. You have the right to inspect your delivery.

Document the evidence in case you receive damaged goods

If your goods are missing or damaged, put everything down on paper. Also, remember to take photos and take notes of shortages and damages on the Bill of Lading. Convey everything about the situation to your shipping company. 

You should report visible or concealed damages within 10-15 days of receiving your shipment. The faster you pass on the documentary evidence to your company, the quicker they can return cargo or help you recover the value of damaged goods. 

Never refuse shipment even if it’s damaged

Never refuse to receive or discard damaged items. If you get rid of the goods, you might not be able to receive the amount of the claim. So, keep all the items. 

Fill out the claim for damaged goods

Fill out your claim paperwork for reimbursement of your damaged freight. The claim will recover the costs of your goods. However, it won’t cover the profit margin between the original and damaged value. 

So make sure to fill out the claim with a reasonable dollar amount. The carrier will acknowledge your claim within 30 days of filing.

Pay the freight bill

Even if there is damage to your shipment, pay the freight bill on time, as it’s the shipper’s responsibility. Moreover, it will quicken the claim process if you’ve any claim to make. Ensure to keep as much evidence as possible about the damage. The documentary proof should include the following:

  • Bill of Lading copy.
  • Copy of paid shipment bill.
  • Purchase Invoice of Goods.
  • Packing slip copy.
  • Standard claim form stating the claim amount.
  • Pictures of the damage.

Get Protection against Damaged Goods with Freight Insurance

Freight insurance is a great safeguard against any damages or losses that can occur during shipment. This type of coverage takes care of all the hassle and cost related to shipping items. So it’s essential to secure your freight shipment with freight insurance before shipping. 

It’s important to note that most carriers will not cover the entire value of goods in the case of damage or theft. That’s why it’s critical to file a claim quickly if your goods get damaged or lost during transit. 

With an appropriate freight insurance policy, you can be sure that you won’t have to pay premiums for these situations, as they are already covered by insurance coverage. In addition, you will receive full reimbursement for any damaged goods or lost cargo. If you are working with a car shipping company, make sure to get necessary information such as their insurance coverage and claims processes. 

So make sure you have the right freight insurance policy in place to get maximum protection against damages and losses during transit. It will help you save time, money, and effort by providing the best coverage for your shipment.  

Damaged Goods: The Bottom Line

Damaged goods can be a huge hassle and cost for shippers. It’s important to take the right precautions before shipping items to ensure the safety and quality of your goods. Make sure to inspect your shipment upon delivery and report any damages or shortages immediately. Additionally, get a reliable freight insurance policy in place to provide maximum protection against losses from damaged goods. With the right preparation, you can minimize losses and ensure smooth shipping operations. 

When you use our international car shipping services,  you can rest assured that we take great care in handling and shipping your vehicle safely. Whether you are shipping to West Africa or any other part of the world, we have you covered. We offer comprehensive insurance coverage to guarantee that your car is safe and secure during transit. Our experienced team is always here to help with any claim or questions you may have. Please contact us for more information about our services and insurance coverage options!


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