Shipping Containers are used to store and transport different types of food items as well as non-food items. Anyone who is qualified, licensed, and authorized to conduct a survey or examination of freight containers is called a container surveyor.
The scope of a container survey includes the container’s physical condition and structural integrity.
A container surveyor could be called in to survey a leased container or an owned container. Sometimes it could be to survey a container that an organization is planning to purchase.
A container surveyor certifies whether a particular container is in good condition for the storage or transportation of cargo or not.
The container survey report confirms that the container is suitable for the purpose for which it is hired or leased. Reliable survey reports mainly help in reducing the liability of shippers.
Who needs a container surveyor?
Any organization that is involved in the containerized shipping of cargoes is usually the one that calls in a container surveyor or recruits one.
Such organizations could be freight companies or traders of goods. These companies need container surveyors to survey damages to their containers, survey repairs or monitor the containers.
Transport of cargo in containers is one of the most common methods to move them from one location to another. With more containers in circulation these days, there is a need for more surveys and therefore more reliable container surveyors.
Types of Container Surveys
On-Hire surveys are usually conducted before an organization (the lessee) leases a container. This is carried out to ensure that the container is in good condition and meets all the conditions that have been agreed upon between the lessor and the lessee.
The surveyor would focus on damages or defects in the container that is already there and take these into consideration before classifying the container as fit for the transport of general cargo, food items, or any other classification as required by the lessee.
A survey of a refrigerated container (reefer) would include a detailed inspection of the refrigeration unit, any abnormal noises coming from the unit, etc. The surveyor would also check the mechanism for the downloading of the container data.
On-hire surveys protect the shipper (the lessee) from the liability of damage during a voyage or anytime before delivery of the container to its consignee. It helps to fix any damages before the container is delivered back to the lessor.
Off-Hire surveys are carried out at the lessor’s end. This is to confirm that the container is as specified in the lease agreement between the lessor and the lessee. The container surveyor would also list the repairs that may be required on the container and the best method to go about this.
Survey of Condition
In this type of survey, the container surveyor records the condition of the container with regard to damages that may have happened during its transport and handling. The general wear and tear of the container are also noted in this kind of survey.
A container surveyor assesses whether the container is suitable for the storage and transportation of cargo and if not, the next most cost-effective method to utilize the container such as by repairing it, returning it to the lessor, or whether to scrap it.
Survey of New Containers
These are the surveys carried out at the site of container manufacture to ensure that the containers that are manufactured are of standards as specified by the ISO (International Standards Organization).
New container surveys are carried out before the commencement of regular mass production at a container manufacturing facility. The container surveyor would then suggest changes to the method of production or any other irregularities that he may have noticed during the survey.
Responsibilities of a Container Surveyor
The responsibilities of a container surveyor may vary between organizations or even from one region to another. Some of the important responsibilities are given below.
- Survey of shipping containers belonging to the organization or the ones it is planning to acquire.
- Survey damages to a container, repairs, or condition of the container.
- Report on the cleanliness of containers.
- Inspection to ensure the presence of the required markings on the container.
- Conduct routine checks during the stuffing and de-stuffing of the container.
- Keep the appropriate records (photographs or video recordings) of loading, unloading, closing, and sealing of the container.
- Keep track of container inspections.
- Work for the continuous improvement of processes relating to the management of freight containers of the organization.
- Collaborate and coordinate with logistics staff on container management.
What are the Qualifications of a Container Surveyor?
To operate or work as a container surveyor one may need the following basic qualifications and experience.
- He or she should have graduated from a technical school.
- Should have a good knowledge of the cargo and freight industry.
- Must be fluent in the local language as well as English.
- Having 2 – 3 years of work experience in the related field helps to get into middle-level positions.
A marine surveyor or a cargo surveyor is not to be confused with a container surveyor.
While the container surveyor’s field of expertise is freight containers, a marine surveyor is someone who inspects or surveys and reports on marine vessels, while the cargo surveyor’s field of expertise is the cargo.
Surveys that are usually undertaken by marine surveyors are related to damages to a marine vessel or surveys conducted to assess a vessel’s condition and seaworthiness prior to its insurance, etc.
Very rarely does the scope of his job include cargoes and their conditions. A marine surveyor may be an employee of the vessel-owning organization or one who is hired by the owner of the vessel on a need basis.
Typically, a cargo surveyor is appointed by the owner of the cargo to survey and report on its condition and the way it is loaded or unloaded.
A cargo surveyor should have good knowledge of the characteristics of different types of cargoes, as well as the stowage and techniques of securing these onboard a vessel.
What are Digital Surveys?
These days, survey companies offer their customers the facility of viewing the process of a survey, digitally. A digital survey is a real-time tool that helps in taking quick and on-the-spot decisions.
When a survey result has to be conveyed by hard copy or even e-mail there are chances of delays. Digital surveys help to avoid such delays.
Several large shipping lines and transport operators make use of digital surveys reducing the turn-around time of surveys and associated repairs or actions drastically.
How Much Does a Container Surveyor Earn?
The salary of a container surveyor varies from one organization to another. On average it can be anywhere between USD 1000 – 4500 per month or USD 125 – 550 per hour, depending on one’s qualifications and experience.
You might also like to read:
- A Career in Logistics: A Detailed Guide
- A List of Unique and Interesting Marine Careers
- How To Become A Shipbroker; Everything You Wanted To Know
- Who is a Marine Surveyor; Responsibilities, Qualifications, and Skills
- Who is a Shipping Agent?
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