Grain, Food and Feed: Cargo Claims and Quality Disputes

For over a century, P&I clubs, shipowners, charterers, lawyers, average adjusters and many others have trusted Brookes Bell to provide the expertise, knowledge and know-how to solve cargo disputes involving grain, food and feed cargoes.

Our team of food scientists, chemists, biologists, forensic scientists and other experts have decades of experience dealing with all kinds of grain, food and feed cargoes, whether it’s providing technical advice and consultancy, or providing expert reports for litigation or dispute resolution. We also have access to extensive reference materials, studies and data on all types of commodities allowing us to provide the most comprehensive analysis and advice.

Brookes Bell marine cargo advice

Given the depth of knowledge and experience at our disposal, Brookes Bell is able to advise on a broad range of cargo disputes and claims involving:

  • Bulk foodstuffs such as soya beans, grain, oilseeds, sugar etc.
  • Animal feeds such as seed cakes.

With regards to food/feedstuff specific issues, we are able to advise on:

  • Microbiological instability
  • Deterioration
  • Spoilage
  • Heating
  • Contamination
  • Quality disputes
  • Food/feed safety
  • GM food regulations
  • Wetting, heating and damage
  • Cargo ventilation and condensation

Shipping foodstuffs such as soya beans, grains and oilseeds, or edible oils and fats can often require that the foodstuffs meet a number of quality parameters in order to satisfy the requirements of the sales contract. 

Failure to meet these parameters and/or contamination can result in quality disputes which can be costly, complex and time consuming. 

There’s also the issue of potential infestation by storage pests, which is another potentially major issue that vessel owners or charterers need to take into account.

So it pays to invest in quality advice that will prevent you from becoming embroiled in quality or contamination disputes. 

Brookes Bell can provide that quality advice. 

Below are the different types of advice we can offer in relation to various cargoes and scenarios.

Soya bean, grain and oilseeds

Brookes Bell’s scientists have decades worth of combined experience in dealing with soya bean, grain and oilseed cargoes, and can provide industry-leading, world-class technical advice on aspects relating to the testing and verification of cargo quality and safety. 

We can help with:

  • Advice on sampling, sample handling and storage.
  • Advice on laboratory choice and sample preparation.
  • Review of analytical results.
  • Investigation of contamination or admixture.
  • Investigation of origin of problem.
  • Advice on mitigation, reconditioning and/or alternative uses.

The types of quality matters Brookes Bell scientists have been involved with, include: 

  • Mycotoxin contamination (aflatoxins, ochratoxin, DON, zearalenone)
  • Dioxin contamination
  • Foreign material or admixture in grain
  • Wheat milling quality measurements
  • Presence of genetically modified organisms
  • Investigation and analysis of moisture levels

Edible oils and fats

Edible oils and fats can easily deteriorate or be contaminated during transport or during loading/discharge. Heat damage can also be an issue.

If you have encountered an issue with your cargo or if you are looking to avoid these issues, Brookes Bell can provide you with: 

  • Advice on sampling from ships’ tanks and shore tanks
  • Advice on sample storage and analysis
  • Reviews of cargo temperature logs
  • Reviews of analysis results and causes of deterioration
  • Investigations of contamination or admixture
  • Advice on mitigation and refining costs

Infestation and fumigation

Shipments involving carriage of agricultural materials at sea are at risk of becoming infested by storage pests. 

Brookes Bell’s cargo scientists are experienced and adept at identifying the sources of insect and rodent infestations and suggesting safe, appropriate solutions. 

Our cargo scientists can help with: 

  • Advice on the nature and extent of an infestation
  • Investigating the origin of an infestation
  • Advice on procedures and applications of IMO safety guidelines for fumigation
  • Reviews of failed fumigations
  • Investigations into fires or explosions caused by fumigation materials

To protect yourself against cargo claims, speak to Brookes Bell’s science and cargo team today.

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