In this article I will examine a reader’s question, regarding Reefer containers, PTI and liability due to incorrect temperature setting..
We booked a shipment with a shipping line and we asked the containers temp should be +10, however the PTI was made -10 which damaged our goods.
Now the question is are we responsible as shippers or our transporters to check the temperature in the container before stuffing? or to verify the PTI report? knowing that our Bill of Lading read +10 as we requested.
Omar, firstly PTI is only an inspection conducted on an empty reefer container BEFORE RELEASE, to ensure the correct functioning of the cooling unit, temperature control and recording devices.. This is an internal function of the actual unit and is done by the system running various algorithms..
In certain countries where there is a requirement of authorities to certify the acceptance & suitability of the reefers, the PTI also references the basic condition of the units..
This inspection includes physically checking the container for structural damage, and ensuring that the inside of the container is clean and ready in all respect to receive cargo..
PTI does NOT include setting the temperature at the right degree..
The releasing depot should set the temperature prior release but the shipper and their service providers (transporter/pack point) should check the booking and ensure that the temperature is set properly before packing the cargo.. If the certifying authorities are present at the load point, they should check the temp settings as well..
In your specific case, you should verify the empty container release document from the shipping line as this will normally show what the set temp of the container should be.. That will give you an indication as to where the liability should be placed..
On the other hand, if the temp was set at -10 deg c and the shipping line received the full container at that temp and still issued the bill of lading at +10 deg c, then they also have some explaining to do..
One reefer expert is of the view that “based on a reasonable test, shipper should immediately place line on notice, especially since the BL shows +10 deg c”..
Most bills of lading will expressly indicate where liability starts and ends so this should also be checked..
At discharge a survey should be conducted and then the claim process should be followed i.e. invoices, subrogation if applicable, market loss & any offset already undertaken..