Many years ago during a delivery, one of the crew members opened up the cardboard wrappings around a leather office chair and he accidentally made a long cut in the leather with his box-cutter knife.
There was no dispute or doubt — he cut the chair with his knife. It was clear as day and everybody knew it — but in the end, he was not responsible for his carelessness.
Thank God this incident didn’t happen to one of our customers, but it did happen, and it was the first dose of ‘cold water in the face’ that I encountered in the shipping industry.
Not only that…
Not only is the delivery agent was not responsible for their actions/mistakes, but the packing agent and port workers too are 100% exempt from restitution for any damages that occur by their actions.
It’s for this reason, and others, that marine insurance is available.
If a client elects to pass on marine insurance and there are damages, then there is nothing to be done — there is no recourse or compensation.
The Bright Side
On the bright side, these stories of carelessness are vary, vary rare, but damages do occur.
What’s items are most commonly damaged?
Since I only know what I’ve been told the list might be skewed, but it seems wood furniture has the highest rate of damage, and glass items – but less then you might expect.
Of the reported damages, most often it’s large or long pieces of furniture that are very heavy or difficult to maneuver and IKEA / ready-to-assemble furniture. Most damages are relatively insignificant like rubs, scrapes or scratches and it’s very rare that a solid, hearty piece of furniture gets broken.