Steamships, airlines, truckers, NVOCCs, and ports are not liable for much.
When you’re feeling brave, read the back of your bill of lading for international or domestic transportation. Rather than feeling reassured, you will quickly notice the lack of coverage. Liabilities are somewhat nebulously stated and are limited in ways that are even more vague. In some cases, an entire ocean container is covered for only $500, and this is only if the carrier is held liable for the loss!
Carriers don’t like to talk about General Average, but it can devastate a shipper’s business.
You’ve placed your first order for a new product – it’s the best thing since sliced bread. But lo and behold, your cargo has gone down with the ship and the ocean carrier declares General Average. This is a phrase that many shippers rarely hear, but we guarantee that if you haven’t insured your goods, you will never forget it.
When General Average is declared, ocean carriers are not liable for loss or damage to cargo, and every cargo owner (that’s you!) is responsible, in part, for the cargo of others, as well as the ship itself. General Average claims can be in the millions of dollars, take years to process, and can ruin your budding eCommerce business if you don’t protect yourself.