What is container loading supervision (CLS)?

On my previous article I have explained pre-shipment inspection in detail, by replying the fundamental questions in regards to pre-shipment inspection.

We have covered following questions so far:
  • When should the pre-shipment inspection be conducted? 
  • What are the benefits of a pre-shipment inspection? 
  • How much does it cost to have a pre-shipment inspection?
  • How does a pre-shipment inspection work?
But one of the main questions is left unanswered. 

How can we as an importer make sure that the inspected goods will be shipped to us? 

How can we as an importer make sure that the loading process is fine and the package as per conditions stated on the sales contract?


One of the correct answer of above questions is Container Loading Supervision (CLS) and today I would like to explain this inspection type in detail.


What does Container Loading Supervision (CLS) mean in international trade?

Container Loading Supervision is a type of inspection, which is conducted by an independent inspection company while the container is loading at the exporter's factory..

During the container loading supervision an independent and qualified inspector checks the conditions of the container in order to make sure that container is suitable for the shipment, monitors the loading process in order to make sure that the correct quantity of goods has been shipped and controls the packaging to verify that goods have been packed according to the requirements stated on the sales contract.

What are the critical points checked during the container loading supervision?

Regular container loading supervision, which is conducted by an independent inspection company, should evaluate following points:
  • Actual shipment quantity control against the values indicated on the packing list, commercial invoice and sales contract or proforma invoice.
  • Checking packing conditions
  • Opening some packages in order to make sure that correct products are being shipped
  • Controlling general conditions of the container against any leakage, odour etc... 
  • Verifying container number 
  • Verifying loading method as per client’s instruction (if applicable)
  • Monitoring whole loading process 
  • Verifying proper container sealing
What are the benefits of a container loading supervision?

The main benefits of a container loading supervision for the importer company  can be listed as belows: 
  • Importer can make sure that the shipped goods are in accordance with the sales contract.
  • Importer can make sure that the packing of the goods is correct 
  • Importer can make sure that the goods are loaded to a healthy container, which is suitable for international transportation and free of any smell, damage, dirt etc.
  • Importer company make sure that container has been shipped on time in accordance with the sales contract.
How much does it cost to have a container loading supervision?

Container loading supervision costs are changing from one audit company to another. 

Also the location of the inspection is another determinant of the cost. For example, container loading audit take place in China, USA or Germany may cost different amounts even if the inspection is performed by the same company.

Case Study : 2015 China Container Loading Supervision Costs

AsiaInspection conducts one man one day container loading supervision services in China for 309USD. Price offer covers inspector transportation, accommodations, overtime, weekend and holiday inspections, same day online report and issuance of an inspection certificate to the supplier.
CIS (China Inspection Service) conducts one man one day container loading supervision services in China for 238USD.
How does a container loading supervision work?

Container loading supervision process may change from one audit company to another. But you can find below operational steps for a regular commercial container loading supervision.
  • Importer or exporter, which will be called "applicant company" hereafter, applies to the inspection company in order to book a container loading supervision.
  • The applicant company fills the forms either online or hard copy to get the price quotation for the inspection.
  • Once the inspection company receives the information supplied by the applicant company, prepares an offer outlining the inspection's borders.
  • If the offer is acceptable, then the applicant company pays for the inspection costs and books the inspection.
  • Inspection company calls the exporter in order to determine the inspection place and date.
  • Inspector company entrusts a qualified inspector for the inspection, who goes to the factory of the exporter at the determined date.
  • Inspector checks the general condition of the goods, verifies that the quantities are in conformity with the shipping documents, controls the container's condition and monitors the loading.
  • Once the inspection is completed, inspector writes his reports. The report may indicate either the shipment is in conformity with the qualifications stated on the sales contract or not. 

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