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Cargo/Shipper’s Declaration

The “shipper’s declaration” or “cargo declaration” as it is often known, is a document prepared by the shippers of a cargo and presented to the Master prior to any loading operations. For grain specific cargoes, this document is quite important as it has some information on it that Transport Canada requires in order to review the grain stability calculations and grant the vessel a “Readiness to Load Grain Certificate.”

According to Transport Canada, this declaration is not described anywhere in the IMO Grain Code. Instead, the governing regulation falls to the Canadian Cargo, Fumigation, and Tackle Regulations (CFTR). Under Division 3 of the CFTR, it is clearly stated that “The master of a vessel shall ensure that the requirements of the following are met:

(a) regulation 3.1 of Chapter VI of SOLAS;

(b) Part B of Chapter VI of SOLAS, except in so far as the requirements apply to the terminal representative; and

(c) subject to section 117, the BC Code.”

It is the reference to Part B of Chapter VI of SOLAS that defines the requirements guiding shippers about what is necessary on a cargo declaration. The regulation outlines the following –

“1 The shipper shall provide the master or his representative with appropriate information on the cargo

sufficiently in advance of loading to enable the precautions which may be necessary for proper stowage and safe carriage of the cargo to be put into effect. Such information shall be confirmed in writing† and by appropriate shipping documents prior to loading the cargo on the ship.

2 The cargo information shall include:

  1. in the case of general cargo, and of cargo carried in cargo units, a general description of the cargo, the gross mass of the cargo or of the cargo units, and any relevant special properties of the cargo. For the purpose of this regulation the cargo information required in sub-chapter 1.9 of the Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing, adopted by the Organization by resolution A.714(17), as may be amended, shall be provided. Any such amendment to sub-chapter 1.9 shall be adopted, brought into force and take effect in accordance with the provisions of article VIII of the present Convention concerning the amendment procedures applicable to the annex other than chapter I.
  2. in the case of solid bulk cargo, information as required by section 4 of the IMSBC Code.
  3. in the case of a bulk cargo not classified in accordance with the provisions of the IMDG Code, as defined in regulation VII/1.1, but which has chemical properties that may create a potential hazard, in addition to the information required by the preceding subparagraphs, information on its chemical properties.

3 Prior to loading cargo units on board ships, the shipper shall ensure that the gross mass of such units is in accordance with the gross mass declared on the shipping documents. The “shipper’s declaration” is not described anywhere in the IMO Grain Code (IGC).”

Mentioned in the above, is a reference to the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code which regulates the information for solid bulk cargo. The relevant section, Section 4, deals with the “assessment of acceptability of consignments for safe shipment” and the provision of information. In this sub section, the shipper is tasked with providing the “master or his representative with appropriate information on the cargo sufficiently in advance of loading to enable the precautions which may be necessary for proper stowage and safe carriage of the cargo to be put into effect.” Additionally, the specific information that needs to be included on the declaration is described which contains, among other things, the following –

  1. the BCSN when the cargo is listed in this Code. Secondary names may be used in addition to the BCSN;
  2. the cargo group (A and B, A, B or C);
  3. the IMO Class of the cargo, if applicable;
  4. the UN number preceded by letters UN for the cargo, if applicable;
  5. the total quantity of the cargo offered;
  6. the stowage factor;
  7. the need for trimming and the trimming procedures, as necessary;
  8. the likelihood of shifting, including angle of repose, if applicable;

In conclusion, Transport Canada Marine Safety is required to follow the regulations put forth by the Cargo Fumigation and Tackle Regulations which is applicable to foreign vessels loading or discharging grain cargoes in Canada. It is up to the individual shippers to provide this information, through the agent, to the vessel prior to inspections. Often times, when there are multiple cargoes and/or suppliers, the vessel may be presented with multiple declarations at a given time.

For an example of a cargo declaration as recommended by the IMSBC code, please see below –