Containers and ships are used in the transportation of goods across various continents. Cargos have to undergo a process of inspection before being cleared at the ports of any given country. There are different types of cargo inspections carried out at the ports. Some of these inspections include marine cargo inspections, dry cargo inspections, Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) examinations, fresh commodity inspection, oil/gas /chemicals inspection, and mineral inspection, among others.
Marine cargo inspection involves checking of cargos of private companies or government agencies. The cargos are mainly examined for diseases and regulatory violations. The types of cargos that undergo examination under the marine inspection are those containing livestock and food. Cargos are issued certificates if they pass the inspection. There is also the checking of the safety gears and licenses to ensure that they are up to date. Any violations detected are offered as compliance recommendations to the vessel’s captains on ways to handle and store dangerous substances. Ports involved in marine cargo inspection are the Port of South Carolina, Port of Tacoma in Washington, and Port Oakland (Jones 2003).
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Customs and Borders Protection (CBP) cargo examination is another type of cargo inspection aimed at preventing terrorism and having no limitation to physical examination of the cargos when they arrive at the ports. This inspection highly utilizes data from various sources to help identify dangerous shipments and concentrate on their inspection. CBP issue regulations that provide for advanced electronic submission of any information concerning the cargo for security reasons. The CBP also has about 400 laws, which govern the exercise of import and help protect the people of the countries from illegal goods. Technology has highly been utilized to ensure non-intrusive inspections of cargo at the ports, which has also played a significant role in the increased rate of inspection of the cargos and reduced delays. Generally, the county’s flow of trade is thus made efficient and fast, enabling growth and development. Examples of ports that allow for Customs and Borders Protection are Port of New York, Port Norfolk in Virginia and the port of Oakland in California (Villa 2007).
Dry cargo inspection is based on the verification of the found physical conditions of the container. Dry cargo, therefore, means goods that are solid and dry, therefore requiring no specific precautions when being transported at sea. Since the goods are neither liquid nor gaseous, they do not require any temperature regulations. Goods considered dry, such as a few food grains and metals like steel and iron, can endure extremes of both heat and cold. The costs for the shipping process of dry goods is lower, since there is no additional outstanding handling of the goods required. To prevent any element that may damage the goods during shipping, containers are tightly sealed. Various nations enact specific laws and regulations concerning the shipment of dry goods within their ports. The most essential factors checked when conducting a dry cargo inspection are the quantity of the cargo, quality of the cargo, packing, sealing, labeling, damages, seal discrepancy, customs, cargo transference from one container to another and seal change. All these verifications have to take place before the cargo is cleared for importation. During and before exportation, photographic reports are given alongside the certificates to complement the transportation at sea. Dry cargo shipment mainly occurs in the Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, Port of Los Angeles, and Port of Long Beach (Coyle 2011).
Fresh commodity inspection deals with containers transporting meat, fruits, vegetables, and fish cargo. The inspection is aimed at preventing any food contamination by ensuring sanitary methods, equipment, packaging and storage environments. This kind of inspection takes place at several stages before the food is actually consumed. This inspection is able to protect people in many nations from consuming food that is either improperly packaged, past the due date, or prepared in unsanitary conditions. It involves the assessment of cargo damages, which are accompanied by a photographic report as well as the issuing of certificates. The inspections are based on quality, packaging, labeling, grading, safety, and health requirements. All these activities require the availability of a local laboratory in order to assess the fresh goods like meat, fish, and vegetables. High-level development is therefore called upon to ports that carry out the fresh commodity inspection.
Oil / Gas/ Chemicals inspection is a vital operation at the ports during both import and export processes. The inspection ensures the verification of the condition of the cylinders and pipes used in the shipment of oil, gas, and chemicals. The inspection helps in maintaining the value of the goods and minimizing the commercial and environmental risks related to the production, distribution, and trade of oil, gas, and chemicals. Examples of ports that carry out oil/ gas/ chemical inspection include Port of Houston, Port of Seattle, and Port of Virginia (Mehrotra 2006).
Mineral inspection services are responsible for the determination of the value of good being bought or sold. Its weight must be determined in a fair manner with known calibrations and check weights in the presence of both the buyer and the seller. After weighing the mineral, the surveyors look at the weighing system against recent calibration information and known weights. This is used to determine the value of the mineral and the cost for its shipment (Fabio 2010).
Containerized cargo inspection systems are not just for the prevention of terrorist attacks. It must be noted that loss of cargos amounts to billions of dollars in a year. This money has to, therefore, be paid up by the customers through increased transportation and insurance. This clearly shows that cargo inspections have enormous implications on the governments at large. The money collected as custody at the ports mainly goes to the government, broken down into taxes and other importation and exportation fees. Losses encountered at the ports are accounted for by the government with money collected from the citizen’s insurances and transport costs. The money collected by the government may be used to strengthen the coastguard effectiveness and capability, enhance international operations, and improve on the use and sharing of international information by all citizens. The government should also concentrate on the suspicious shipments by improving the information sharing between the public and private sector (Cote 1988).
Implications of cargo security on logistics operations management in ports of both the origin and destination are extremely evident. They include the provision of employment in various sectors of the inspection activities. The funds collected from cargo inspections as custody can be used to improve the working conditions of the logistics management in ports. This may include developing and maintaining a productive work team through training and career development, creating and ensuring that established rules and regulations are followed, and providing active communications and distribution issues. Cargo security has also helped in the improvement of the livelihood of the people working under the logistics operations management in the ports. It increases their integrity, as they are able to reject bribes from persons intending to smuggle goods into the ports, and instead report such incidents.
The inspections that are carried out within the ports of many nations largely help in the growth and development of the countries. The developments carried out at the ports themselves enhance fast clearance of cargo for either exportation or importation. The mere act of carrying out the cargo inspection bears a strong foundation to the millions of businesses carried out in a country, right from the government to the ordinary citizen. Goods that are used for trade are cleared every day at the ports. For nations to have a prosperous development trend, they need to work hard to improve on the working condition and infrastructure of their ports to enable fast and free shipment of goods into and out of the country. This is accompanied by the increased number of employees (Alston 2004).
With the continuous study of the types of cargo inspections and their implications on the government and the logistics operations management in ports of both origin and destination, it is easy to see just how valuable cargo inspections are. They prevent many planned terrorist attacks, prevent smuggling of goods in and out of the countries, offer employment opportunities to citizens, protect consumers from contaminated food, and significantly enhance development through trade among various nations. Governments in many countries globally are working on increasing the number of ports accessible within their boundaries. This will also lead to the increase in the number of foreign nations willing to trade with the USA. More investors get to view the country as a good business venue and tourist destination. It is essential to place development first in our targets as a nation. Cargo security is one of the many ways in which development can be easily achieved. Machinery required to develop the nation is also ferried into the nation through the port. Cargo inspections therefore remain an essential element of the national progress.
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