Logistics Glossary

Damaged goods

What qualifies as damaged goods?

In the context of freight management, damaged goods are products which have suffered any type of physical, functional or structural impairment during the shipping process. It can also refer to the partial or full loss of the shipment. Identifying and documenting damaged goods is critical in the freight industry, as it helps shippers, carriers and recipients understand the extent of the problem and determine responsibility for the damage.

Who is responsible for damaged goods?

Liability for damaged goods is determined by a number of factors, and should be agreed in advance by all parties. Generally speaking, the carrier is responsible for any damage to or loss of cargo during transport. However, other aspects must be taken into account when determining liability:

Shipper's responsibility

The shipper is responsible for the correct packaging of the goods and must therefore check and properly document the condition of the shipment before it is transferred to the carrier.

Recipient's responsibility

The recipient of the damaged goods must ensure that any damage or loss of all or part of the shipment is properly documented and reported.

Carrier insurance

Depending on the specifics of the insurance contract, the carrier's insurance may partially or fully refund damaged goods. It is therefore vital for carriers to keep themselves informed about their insurance cover and the associated conditions relating to goods damaged during transport.

How should recipients properly report damaged goods?

When receiving damaged goods, recipients should first and foremost document everything by taking clear photos and videos of the condition of the shipment and drawing up a detailed list of damaged or lost items, with their description, quantity, etc. It is also advisable to keep the packaging and shipping materials, which could be used as evidence during inspection.
Once everything has been documented, recipients should contact the shipper or carrier to inform them of the damage and share any evidence gathered. Carriers and shippers usually have their own procedures for reporting damaged goods, including specific forms for the recipient to complete, and may also ask to inspect the damaged shipment.
Finally, it is essential that the recipient keeps a record of all documents and communications throughout the process.
Following these steps will allow the procedure to run smoothly and ensure that the damaged goods are compensated or replaced.

How to avoid damaged goods?

Although accidents and other unforeseeable circumstances cannot guarantee that there will be no damage to or loss of cargo, certain measures can be taken by shippers and carriers to prevent any damaged goods. These include:

- Appropriate and secure packaging, such as using solid boxes and protective packing materials
- Handling instructions, including guidance on fragile/delicate goods
- Proper transport with reliable carriers who use appropriate loading and transport equipment and who are up-to-date with their insurance and employee training

Taking these precautions will reduce the likelihood of damage to goods in your logistics operations.