What does Shippers load, stow and count mean..??

Shippers load, stow and count or Shippers load and count or SLAC is a term that you would have seen in the description of the bill of lading for all shipments.. What does it mean to the line and to the shipper..??

In all break-bulk and bulk vessels, there is a document called Mate’s Receipt.. This document is like a delivery note and has all the information pertaining to the shipment like cargo description, number of bundles, weight, measurement etc and this note is handed over to the ship at the time of loading..

If any discrepancies are found between the actual cargo delivered and the Mate’s Receipt, the Chief Mate (after whom this receipt is named) a.k.a 1st Mate, 1st Officer, Chief Officer will check the cargo and note such discrepancies to confirm that the cargo was received in that condition.. This absolves the ship/owner/charterer of any claims relating to missing or damaged cargo etc that might be levied upon them by the shipper at a later stage..

This was possible in the era of pre-containerisation because the ship/agents were able to physically check and verify the cargo..

However, in the case of containerised cargoes and specially FCL cargoes, the carrier/agents are not privy to the packing of the containers and the nature of the cargo.. The carrier relies on the information provided by the shipper in terms of the cargo, number of packages, weight and measurement..

Hence the clauses “SHIPPERS LOAD STOW AND COUNT”  (SLAC) and “SAID TO CONTAIN”  (STC) is put on the bill of lading to protect the carrier from any claims that the shipper might levy on them at a later stage..

For ex: Lets assume that the bill of lading states 1×20′ container STC 55 bundles of human hair and when the container reaches the destination and consignee unpacks the container to find that there is only 45 bundles.. The bill of lading carries the above clauses..

As long as the seal has not been altered or tampered with, the consignee or shipper cannot question or hold the carrier liable for the shortage because the carrier was not present at the time of the packing of the container and carrier doesn’t know what the Shipper Loaded, Stowed or Counted.. Bill of lading shows the details that was provided by the shipper, so the consignee must contact the shipper to take up this issue..

If however, the seal number has been altered or tampered with, that becomes a totally different story for another day..

You can share your views about above article here..

9 comments on “What does Shippers load, stow and count mean..??

  1. Alice says:

    I have a question, according HVR 3, the information on the bill of lading should be a conclusive evidence that the cargo was shipped in the said condition in the bill of lading, right? This is to protect the innocent third party. I would like to heard your comments on this. Thank you.

  2. Cindy Mueggenburg says:

    Thank you, this is ver help full although frustrating in the same. I dispute claims but have problems with the SLC and carriers not being resposible for the damage that happens.

  3. translog says:

    Wonder if you can help clarify a claim issue with regards to SLAC please.

    We are a 3PL, we organized to get some LTL picked up for a client from Ontario to Ohio. Our client simply gives us basic details dims and weight of units no special instruction (i.e. load must be secured ). We submit rate which is agreed upon and carrier is sent in to load 2 machine units.

    Shipper loads the units, and carrier goes off. A few days later the units arrive damaged. We submit a claim, its refused by the carrier on the basis that it was shipper load and count and that the units were top heavy and that they were never told to secure the load, and fell over onto other material causing other damage totaling a few thousand $. We are threatened with a counter claim of a few thousand dollars if we do not stop our claim.

    Client then adds that the shipper asked the driver to secure units with load bars and driver refused? (Why shipper let him go on with the unit I have no idea).

    We submit claim directly to the insurer, who in turn re sends it to the carrier who in turn rejects it once gain. Isn’t the insurer obligated to at least take a look at the claim and view the evidence and then make a decision?

    Would shipper load and count absolve the carrier of all liability ?

    I feel that the shipper could have informed us, and should not have left the unit go not secured, and the driver who represents the carrier has some obligation to not let the unit travel in such a way.

    I feel that its at least 50/50

    Your responses much anticipated.


  4. Sohail says:

    can we include calaus on discription colm as “clean on board” also. ?


  5. Aaron says:

    Are there any counter measures for these clauses SLAC and STC??

    1. manaadiar says:

      Hi Aaron, do you mean alternatives..?? No, there are no alternatives and all carriers will continue using these clauses..

  6. Annie says:

    I’m wondering what the difference to input SHIPPERS LOAD STOW AND COUNT” (SLAC) or “SAID TO CONTAIN” (STC) at description of commodity ?

  7. Sarath says:

    Thank u so much for this piece of information.. Kindly continue with the story as u have promised above….

  8. MARLIN REDDY says:

    excellent piece of work.keep it up.