Tally of general cargoes (steel billets, slabs, bloom, copper cathodes, zinc/aluminium and lead ingots, etc.) at Novorossiysk port


While loading general cargoes at Novorossiysk, including different kinds of finished and non-finished steel cargoes, such as steel billets, round bars, slabs, blooms, reinforcing bars, different kind of hot and cold rolled coils/sheets and etc., Master comes across the problem of signing the final cargo documents, Mate’s Receipts and Bills of Lading mentioning the quantity of the general cargo loaded on board the ship. 


When during loading tally of the cargo was not arranged Masters in order to protect the vessels’ interests are trying to insert “unknown quantity” remark into Mate’s Receipt and Bill of Lading. The cargo shipper or the forwarding companies, acting on behalf of the cargo shipper, never accept such remark for inserting into Bill of Lading. The situation described results in the ship’s delay in the port after completion of loading due to long useless discussions between the shippers and the Masters.

If we look into the Customs & Regulations of the Novorossiysk port we can find the following clause:

“Receipt and delivery of cargoes take place alongside a vessel with indispensable preparation of mutually signed Tally Sheets of appropriate form. Moreover, each cargo “lift” and the total amount of loaded/discharged cargo should be confirmed by the signatures of both parties. Any amendments to Tally Sheet are permitted only if agreed by both parties and confirmed respectively with signatures of tallymen of NCSP (Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port) and those appointed by a vessel. Tally sheets with amendments that have not been agreed or made solely by the vessel are not valid. If the vessel does not provide own tallymen, NCSP tallymen’s counts shall be binding. In this case, cargo documents that were made according to counts of NCSP are to be signed by the Master without remarks, regardless whether the Master was provided with information about loaded/discharged cargoes or not”.

So, when vessel’s tallymen are not appointed, the port tallymen’s counts are binding and in these circumstances the Mate’s Receipts and Bills of Lading are to be signed by the Master without remarks in respect of quantity of cargo loaded. Taking advantage of this term the cargo shippers insist upon signing the Bills of Lading without the remark “quantity unknown” and never accept remark “as per shipper’s tally”.

Referring to the Merchant Marine Code of Russia we would like to quote Article 145:

 “Clauses to Bill of Lading. Probative Force of Bill of Lading.

Where the Bill of Lading contains information concerning the names of cargo, its principal markings, number of packages or items, mass or quantity of goods, in respect of which the Carrier or other person issuing the Bill of Lading on his behalf knows of, have sufficient reason to believe that such information does not correspond to the cargo actually received or loaded at the moment of issue of the Bill of Lading, or if the Carrier or such other person did not have reasonable opportunity to check the information supplied , the Carrier or such other person is to enter the Bill of Lading a clause exactly specifying the discrepancies, ground for supposition or the lack of a reasonable opportunity to check the said information.

Generally speaking, the failure to perform tally on the ship’s side during loading of general cargo is not a justified excuse for the carrier who is to take every opportunity to check the information described in the Bill of Lading and that stated by the Cargo Shipper. Moreover, this will not remove liability from the Carrier under the contract of carriage in case of any claim for shortlanding.

One may state that the cargo can be tallied by power of the vessel’s crew members. However, when tally is performed by crew members the possibility of making mistake is rather high. It can really be rather easy for an inexperienced crew member to make mistake as the port tallymen arrange cargo count on its delivery alongside the vessel only, but not during loading the cargo inside the holds. For example, a bundle is delivered alongside the vessel and placed just opposite hold No.2 (and tallied by the port clerks as the cargo scheduled for loading into Hold No.2) but finally by order of stevedore this bundle is loaded into hold No.3 by ship’s or shore crane. Incorrect manner of count may lead to discrepancy between figures reflecting quantity of pieces loaded into each particular hold specified in Daily Reports and Final Cargo Plan.

Having described this case we have showed you the situation when a vessel can be placed in a position when the Master and Officers can just check total quantity of bundles loaded knowing nothing about spreading of the cargo between holds in accordance with Mate’s Receipts and Bills of Lading.

We have a lot of examples when port tally was carried out incorrectly and taking into account our experience we can say that participation of experienced tallymen prevents from shortloading claims.  


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