Alleged shortlandings of bagged and bulk cargoes of grain in Hodeidah continue to give rise for concern.
Information recently received indicates that three basic methods of discharge and delivery of bulk cargo is taking place in Hodeidah.
Weighing and Bagging at ships side
Cargo in bulk is discharged at the ships side using consignees/receivers own vacuvators and bagging equipment. The equipment used is a 20ft "Richard Simon Nottingham" container pack which carries out a bagging and weighing function. After bagging, bags are moved to lorries by elevator where they are tallied out. This is reportedly a new style operation.
Red Sea Flour Mills
This operation consists of cargo being discharged by vacuvator to hoppers and then loaded into custom made open top lorries. The vehicles, when full, proceed to the consignees warehouse 10 km away!!! Reportedly customs attend at the consignees warehouse to witness weighbridge figures?
We understand there is a weighbridge in the port which is about 3 years old but is not always in working condition?
These silos whilst owned by the Government are actually leased by the receivers who operate them. Reportedly however they defer the responsibility of calibration and upkeep of the equipment to the authorities ?Reportedly no one representing the shipowner is allowed into these silos.
Vacuvators are used to discharge the cargo from the ships side into hoppers and thence onto a conveyor belt which is some distance from the silos. This belt is subject to windage which results in a lot of dust and probable cargo loss.
Reportedly receivers using this operation only accept their own weighbridge figures, also no trade allowances are accepted for natural losses etc. We are further advised that the measuring equipment has not been calibrated for several years, this cannot be verified, but clearly evidence of calibration records should be asked for if claims arise where this equipment has been used !
Draught surveys are normally carried out at the port, unfortunately receivers invariably refuse to attend joint surveys. If this occurs agents should be advised to note receivers refusal to attend.
Rough calculations from local sources (unverified) indicate that end of year stock taking in these silos usually reveals excesses, sometimes as much as 3000 mt. Based on annual imports of grain into Hodeidah of around 1,200,000mt, this could indicate a loss per ship of around 70,000usd.
Members carrying bulk grain to Hodeidah should therefore be aware that claims with this type of cargo are almost inevitable.
We can make the following suggestions but cannot guarantee the present commercial regime in Hodeidah will recognise their use.
1) Seal hatches and accesses at port of loading and evidence it by an independent surveyor in front of the shipper.
Unseal the hatches at port of discharge and evidence it by an independent surveyor in front of the receiver to prove no loss of cargo has occurred on passage.
Obtain an empty hold certificate from an independent surveyor after discharge to prove all cargo discharged.
2) Invite consignees to conduct joint draught survey at time of discharge. If they refuse to attend make sure request and refusal is logged.
3) Due to the apparent inevitability of claims in this port, try to negotiate charter party terms to take this into account.
Source of Information Local advice (see Bill Kirrane E5)