MS Amlin reports increased number of sugar cargo shortage claims

Netherlands-based MS Amlin Marine NV said at the weekend that it had seen an increasing number of shortage claims and quality disputes related to the carriage of sugar cargoes.

It has released a circular promoting further awareness of the risks associated with the loading, carriage and discharge of sugar cargoes, as well as providing some loss prevention recommendations.

Peter Bruins, Loss Prevention Executive, and Michael Vonk, Risk Adviser at MS Amlin Marine NV of Rotterdam, said that sugar was “highly sensitive to contamination and moisture”, noting that “any dirt contaminating the sugar can cause health hazards, resulting in serious claims due to food safety legislation”.

The main risk factors for sugar are:

  • Temperature
  • Ventilation
  • Gases
  • Self-heating / spontaneous combustion
  • Odour
  • Humidity / moisture
  • Mechanical influences
  • Shortage
  • Insect infestation / disease

To minimize risks, MS Amlin has recommended a significant number of precautionary measures during loading and discharge.


  • The ship’s holds should be clean, dry and free from any noticeable smell.
  • Bags should be loaded only if outwardly dry with no apparent lumpiness of the contents.
  • No bags should be loaded during any form of precipitation, including rain or snow.
  • Cargo battens are not essential. Where no battens are fitted, measures should be taken to prevent damage from any protruding cargo batten hooks or fittings.
  • Tight block-stowage is the customary and acceptable method of stowage.
  • If additional cargo is to be carried in the same hold as refined sugar, then this should be
  • Ensure the separation of polyethylene or polypropylene cloth or paper sheeting between the ship’s structure and the bags is sufficient ‘dry’ cargo.


  • The rapid discharge of any bags which may have been loaded at substantially lower temperatures than at the discharge port is necessary. This will help to prevent unwanted condensation on the bags during discharge.
  • Discharging slings of bagged cargo should not be dragged out from wings or ends of holds as this will result in bags tearing on plate butts and landings, rough wooden tank top ceilings, or other obstructions.
  • The total quantity and quality of cargo should be guaranteed as agreed prior to shipment. Facilities should be available for re-bagging of spilt cargo bags both during loading and discharging.
  • All torn, slack or empty bags and packages should be carefully inspected while discharging is in progress, and they should be delivered (against tally) along with the sound cargo, otherwise a claim for short delivery is likely to follow.

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