Documents are the core of all claims. The onus rests with a claimant to prove their loss and documentation can go a long way to proving a loss.

Lack of documentation makes it virtually impossible to substantiate a claim and will, in most instances, prevent a claim from being paid or a recovery being made. Within these documents lies information such as the value of the consignment, who the owner of the goods was, who was buying the goods, who the Carrier was (Very Important!), who was responsible for the goods at the time that the loss arose, etc. These documents will also assist you in showing whether that the shipment falls within you various insurance policies.

The lists below are merely a guide as to what documents should be obtained and should not be considered as prescriptive. All claims are different and the listings may not necessarily apply to the circumstances at hand. It is important to keep in mind that recovery actions rely on the fact that the loss must be attributed to one of the Carriers involved in the movement of the goods. It is not a simple matter of saying that the goods arrived damaged at the clients premises. One has to establish exactly where the loss arose and how it arose. Carriers have an uncanny ability to shift the onus of the loss onto other parties or, more importantly, shift the focus away from their potential liabilities. Unless we can prove otherwise, we will have reduced our chances of making a recovery. Remember, the onus is essentially on the claimant to prove where the loss arose. Only at that stage will the responsible party look more carefully at the claim and consider settlement thereof. Contractually, under cover of Bills of Lading, one can often enforce settlement of claims by the mere fact that the Carrier contracted to move the goods, however, this normally requires litigation and the high costs that come with it.

1. DOCUMENTATION
This is the core of all claims. Without these documents, there is essentially no claim as one is unable to show what the goods were that were moved, how they were moved, who the Consignor was, who the Consignee was and other similar crucial information. Within these documents lies information such as the value of the consignment, who the owner of the goods was, who was buying the goods, who the Carrier was (Very Important!), who was responsible for the goods at the time that the loss arose, etc. These documents will also assist you in showing whether that the shipment falls within you various insurance policies. The list below is generally what is required for various claims:

1.1. Imports / Exports – Shipping
Generally more documents are required as there is a lot more information that is required as a number of carriers are involved, there are areas such as Customs, foreign exchange, ownership and others that need to be identified. For this, Bills of Lading, Bills of Entry / Export, certificates of origin etc. are required.

1.2. Inland Movements
Generally, this applies to movements with South African borders rather than crossing international boundaries. However, the documents that are required are similar to that of international movements apart from Bills of Export / Entry.

1.3. Airline Claims
Generally, the documents that are required are similar to those of ocean shipments, however, the obvious difference is that there are Airway Bills rather than Bills of Landing.

 

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