Farina - Cereal product prone to moisture and odour damage.
Fertilisers - Shipped in bags or bulk and susceptible to moisture damage. Follow the IMDG code.
Fish (Fresh) - Any power failure can cause excessive odours contaminating other cargo and equipment. Damage can occur from hot stuffing.
Fish (Frozen) - Any power failure can cause excessive odours contaminating other cargo and equipment. Blast freezing is normally conducted prior to loading but slow freezing will inevitably lower the quality.
Fish Meal - A highly potent odour and many carriers refuse the shipment or require the shipper to compensate for container cleaning damage. Commodity is prone to heating damage and can combust if left unattended.
Galvanised Steel - The process of applying a protective zinc surface to protect against rust. Oxidation will occur if exposed to water and especially sea water. It should be noted that silver nitrate test to evidence sea water cannot be used on zinc coated products as zinc will reach with this. Other forms of testing should be used to prove causation.
Gelatine - Animal bones used in food production. Susceptible to loss in weight and most be stored away from heat sources, including direct sunlight and vessel engines. When exposed to water or condensation will cause mould and spoil the cargo
Glass - A common problem with glass is breakage as one could imagine. However, if carefully packed can be shipped perfectly well by sea or air. Since a small drop without any impact damage to the container can have drastic consequences it is strongly recommended to use impact detectors. These can be bought for a small price online but will help support any claim.
Grain - Has a severe inherent vice from heating, sweating and infestation. All contribute to each. It is therefore important appropriate pre-shipment tests and fumigation is carried just prior to shipment. Failure of which could lead the carrier or insurers to decline any claim arising from this as inherent vice.
Grapes - Have shelf life for weeks or months depending on the variety. Must be ventilated and avoid direct sunlight and/or high temperatures.
Hardwood - Wood has a high moisture content and unless properly ventilated can cause severe wetting/damage. Try to limit the amount of dunnage or wooden bracing to limit the effects.
Hides and Skins - Not a preferred commodity for many carriers due to the effect on their containers. Often rendering them incapable to carry high end cargo again and need expensive cleaning even if lined. Hides and skins can be prone to mould or heating.
Honey - Has a shelf life of years delay is rarely a problem. Often shipped in drums or bottles and can withstand heating although value may be downgraded.
Household and Personal Effects - Probably the most challenging of all types of goods for claims because generally dealing with the general public can be difficult. Little understanding and often heightened tensions because goods involve sentimental value. Ensure adequate cargo insurance is taken and always professionally packed at every stage. Items packed into boxes but packed by the carrier into the carrier is still owner packed goods and cargo insurance generally does not cover damage/loss. Ensure as much detail is shown on the valued inventory.
Hydrogen Peroxide - Normally shipped in glass and never plastic. Commodity carries a high risk of fire and explosion so consult IMDG code.
Juniper Berries - Exporters generally from Southern Europe but also India and China. Have high moisture content and are delicate. Should not be closely packed.
Paints - Normally carried in commercially sized tins or drums. Poor stowage can cause collapsed/spillage and damage to third party equipment or cargo. Stacking should never be more than 2 layers to prevent crashing and bracing should be used to prevent shifting. Too much wooden dunnage and poor ventilation can cause rusting of tins from container sweat.
Paper Reels - Heavy reels are often subjected to extreme forces and if not properly strapped can damage property and cause injury. Paper is naturally sensitive to water so should be covered by kraft paper to avoid stains.
Paraffin Wax - Used in Lubrication, candles and insulation. IMDG classed good so flammable and should be kept away from heat sources and sensitive cargoes.
Peaches - Have a shelf life of 2-4 weeks and browning occurs from inside so not always visible. Inherent vice can include infestation.
Pears - Can have a shelf life of several months if carried correctly and discolouration may be nothing to do with transportation but disease or inherent vice. Should be carried close to zero degrees C and high humidity because fresh ones have a very short shelf life. Avoid close proximity to tomatoes.
Pharmaceutical Products - Generally for medical or beauty products and carry high value and very specific carrying requirements. Special insurance is needed because the slightest of changes can make these unsellable. Also prone to high end theft.
Pineapples - Have a shelf life of 2-3 weeks and need good ventilation.
Plastics - Very versatile and can withstand most external factors. Reconditioning or salvage is often the worst-case scenario. Should always be careful of used plastic as a potential unclear cargo problem.
Potatoes - Must never be stowed or shipped with fresh fruit or dairy products. Have a shelf life for several months and most be well ventilated to avoid sprouting.
Rice - Prone to heating and infestation. Should be fumigated and not allowed to sit for long periods.
Soya Beans - Prone to heat and infestation. Should be fumigated and not allowed to sit for long periods.
Steel - As with other metals prone to rusting especially from Salt water.
Sugar - Must maintain an equilibrium between dryness and adequate moisture content. Failure will result in poor texture and loss of value. This may be an inherent vice at production and not to do with transit exposure. When damaged by salt water should not be considered as a total loss and can be reconditioned or salvaged.
Sulphuric Acid - Highly Corrosive. Never shipped in plastic drums and should follow IMDG carriage instructions. Cargo is hygroscopic so will absorb moisture from the air so never should be filled completely to the top to avoid overflow.
Tea - Sensitive cargo so should be stowed away from odours. Also prone to pilferage.
Tobacco Products - Often an excluded commodity so double check with your insurance provider Highly susceptible to theft and container sweat.
Wines and Spirits - Shipped in drums or bottles. Often an excluded commodity so double check with your insurance provider. Highly susceptible to theft.
Wood - All wood products have a high moisture content and cause container sweat. Suitable precautions should be taken especially for high value wooden products such as furniture. Should also avoid wooden dunnage to keep moisture to a minimum.
Apples - Tendency to bruise easily. Discolouration or bruising should not be always attributed to rough handling. Apples can be damaged if carried below zero degrees Celsius which causes browning and may not be apparent until cargo brought up to room temperature
Apricots - Are a climatic and ripens after being picked so should be kept away from other fruit. They are prone to bruising.
Avocados - Are climatic and therefore ripens after being picked so should be kept away from other fruit. Unless well ventilated browning signs occur, which is an inherent vice. Have a shelf life of 2-3 weeks.
Bananas - Whilst climatic the ripening process is not even and quickens shortly before ripening. Bananas should be kept away from other fruit and can even be detrimental if shipped in compartments previously containing apples. Shelf life of bananas can be 1 to 3 weeks but not unknow to be shipped by sea.
Beans - All Beans are susceptible to heating and careful consideration needs to be taken on their moisture content. This is an inherent vice of the product and if shipped LCL/LCL special care should be taken on pre-shipment inspections.
Bentonite - Type of clay that absorbs moisture. It often used as cat litter for this property. When shipped it should be protected from atmospheric conditions due to its hygroscopic nature.
Brass - Prone to corrosion so protection to its surface is needed. Another inherent vice of the produce is dents and scratches that occur during its manufacturing processes and are not always caused by rough handling.
Brazil Nuts - Prone to high moisture content and susceptible to damage if loaded during rain. Never load if mould already formed on its shell.
Bulbs - Most common types of damage are rooting caused by delay, sweating in non-ventilated containers or frost damage whist exposed to the elements or shipped late in the season.
Calcium Chloride - A hygroscopic salt that is often used as a desiccant. It is surprising the number of times it has been wrongly applied to products rather than in bags. It is harmful to humans and therefore needs to be handled with care.
Canned Goods - Shelf life of canned goods can last for decades so delay or deterioration is rarely a problem. Most problems occur from crushing or denting mainly arising from poor stowage.
Carrots - Mature have a shelf life more than six months but immature or bunched can be a matter of weeks. Most problems occur when harvest is at the end of the season and/or during heavy rainfall.
Caustic Soda - A hazardous commodity that is corrosive and often used to manufacture cleaning products and softening food. Problems mostly occur from the costly clean up or pollution when damage happens.
Cement - Whilst appearance seems versatile, it's prone to deterioration from prolonged exposure to air or even some products. When shipped in bulk has been known to sink ships, especially when fire occurs (water used to extinguish fire).
Charcoal and Coal - Still a commodity shipped and used in countries like China and India. Being combustible very special care need to be taken during handling and transport. Charcoal/Coal is highly absorbent and often loses moisture during its voyage to destination.
Cinnamon - A bark usually shipped in bales. Since the aroma is highly prized careful stowage away from other potent commodities must be avoided. Cartons/boxes must be marked as fragile and ventilated containers must be used.
Cocoa Beans - Suffer from inherent vices such as high moisture content, infestation and spillage from the poor condition of jute bags used. Traditionally shipped LCL/LCL for this reason so careful pre-shipment arrangements are needed.
Coffee Beans - Suffer from inherent vices such as high moisture content, infestation and spillage from the poor condition of jute bags used. Traditionally shipped LCL/LCL for this reason so careful pre-shipment arrangements are needed.
Computers - Can be considered a high value commodity so best double check with your insurance provided. Prone to high level theft so recommended to keep description simple. i.e. avoid Apple MacPro Air.
Copper Sulphate (Blue Crystals) - Used as an herbicide especially in grape production. Is soluble to water and if in contact with even a small amount can become a corrosive effect on equipment and cargo. Dangerous to humans so should be handled with care.
Cotton (Raw) - A major export from Egypt. Whilst not capable of combustion in itself but is when been oiled. Contains a high moisture content so is prone to wetting and loss of weight. Due to its high volume that can be compressed into bales it normally carries a high value.
Dates - Damaged by direct contact to water by either condensation, sweat or rain and causes fermentation. Can carry a shelf life of several months if stored correctly.
Electrical Goods - Whilst the nature of the goods is not normally a problem their susceptibility is. Excessive packaging including dunnage or wooden bracing often releases excessive moisture contributed to container sweat that can lead to moisture damage.
Kraft Paper - Is often used to cover susceptible cargo from moisture or container sweat. Generally considered as part of packaging but can be shipped and carries the same risk as paper although lower value.
Leather - Same as Hides & Skins but normally refers to the finished product and more value. Leather should contain fungicide to protect against mould growth but is still an inherent vice of the product especially in hot and humid climates. Will lose or absorb moisture, therefore a risk of being dried out and damaged.
Linseed - Same as all seeds this is susceptible to heating but is hardier than most. Loading must take place in dry conditions.
Live Animals - Must be carried out by specialist carriers and normally come with strict regulations.
Machinery - Can be shipped in containers, open tops, flat racks or simply rolled on to vessels. Since they are generally exposed to the elements, they are susceptible to rust, impact and even pollution. Stowage is upmost importance and since they are heavy items careful calculations need to be taken to withstand the rigors of transit. Commonly claims tend to arise from poor storage/packaging that tend not covered under cargo insurance.
Mangoes - Have a self-life of 2-3 weeks and are sensitive to cold temperatures. Normal carriage should be around 13C or 55F. Inherent vices can arise from bruising and colour blemishes.
Meat - (Chilled) - Carries a risk of theft and should be stored in secure yards. Chilled meat is sensitive to temperature variations and too cold can cause crystallisation and too warm decreases shelf life. Depending on the meat but can have a shelf life between 1 to 3 weeks. Even with a reefer breakdown chilled meat can remain untainted for a day or two. Causes of damage are often hot stuffing or reefer breakdowns.
Meat - (Frozen) - Carries a risk of theft so should be stored in secure yards. Frozen meats are frozen to -18C to -22C and can withstand a reefer failure for a number of days. Often causes of damage are from hot stuffing or reefer breakdowns.
Motor Vehicles (New) - Either carried in containers or roll on roll off vessels. Can be subject to petty theft but prone to knocks or dents. If stowed in containers should always be professionally packed.
Motor Vehicles (Old) - Either carried in containers or roll on roll off vessels. If insured often only limited perils apply unless of previously accepted subject to a pre-condition report.
Nuts and Kernels - Usually for consumption or for oils. Susceptible for mould and heating due to their inherent nature. Avoid loading in during wet conditions and last harvest prior to rainy seasons. Prone to infestation and fumigation should be carried out just before shipping and separated.
Oils - Either shipped in drums, flexitanks or bulk. Prone to poor stability if not correctly filled and carried. Also susceptible to leakage and costly pollution claims.
Olives - Shipped in drums and containerised. Olives with white deposits may not be caused by external causes but incomplete fermentation prior to harvest. Fresh olives have a shelf life of around 2-4 weeks but shipped in brine is much longer. Even if brine has leaked the olives can remain in good condition a couple of weeks.
Onions - Depending on the variety they have a shelf life of a few weeks to a few months. Onions release CO2 so strong ventilation is needed and a controlled temperature-controlled environment. Shipped in closed bags or boxes will quickly cause sprouting and decay.