Cargo Tallying in Ship Chartering
Cargo Tallying is the name given to the procedure of checking the number of packages, as they are loaded/discharged.
An operation whereby specialised personnel are employed by either the shipowners or by the charterers/shippers/receivers to list and check (tally) all items of cargo loaded and/or discharged.
Obviously, this may be an involved and complicated task in the case of break bulk cargo but may still be necessary for the seemingly straightforward cargo-handling of bagged goods such as bagged rice, where pilferage claims and/or disagreement over the number of bags loaded or discharged may arise.
A sample Tally Clause would read: “Shore Tallyman to be employed by the at the expense of the ship owners/charterers, but only when loading in bags or in bulk ex-bags”.
What is Tally in Ship Chartering?
In the context of ship chartering, a “tally” refers to the act of counting, recording, or keeping track of the number of goods, containers, or other cargo items that are loaded onto or offloaded from the ship. This process is critical to ensure that the quantities specified in the bill of lading or cargo manifest match the actual quantities loaded or discharged.
The tally can be performed manually by individuals known as tally clerks, who physically count each item as it’s loaded or unloaded. Alternatively, it can be performed using automated systems or technologies, such as barcodes and scanners.
The process of tallying helps to:
- Verify the amount of cargo being loaded or discharged.
- Confirm that the correct goods are being handled.
- Prevent cargo loss, damage, or theft by maintaining a careful record of all cargo movements.
- Resolve any disputes between the shipper, charterer, and consignee regarding the quantity or condition of the cargo.
- Facilitate accurate freight calculation based on the quantity of cargo.
In addition to counting the quantity, the tally process may also involve checking the condition of the cargo, noting any damage, and recording any discrepancies between the cargo and its documentation. The results of the tally are typically recorded in a tally sheet or report, which is then used as an official record of the cargo handling operation.
What is Tallyman (Tally Clerk) in Ship Chartering?
In the context of ship chartering, a “tallyman” (also known as a tally clerk) is a person who is responsible for counting, recording, or keeping track of the number of goods, containers, or other cargo items that are being loaded onto or offloaded from a ship. This process is known as “tallying”.
A tallyman’s responsibilities typically include:
- Physically counting each item of cargo as it’s loaded onto or unloaded from the ship to ensure the quantities match those specified in the cargo documents such as the bill of lading or cargo manifest.
- Checking and recording the condition of the cargo, noting any damage or discrepancies.
- Maintaining a careful record of all cargo movements to prevent loss, damage, or theft, and to resolve any disputes regarding the quantity or condition of the cargo.
- Preparing a tally sheet or report, which serves as an official record of the cargo handling operation. This document can be critical in the event of cargo claims or disputes.
- Communicating with the ship’s master, the stevedores (workers who load and unload the ship), and the charterer or shipper as required to ensure smooth operations.
The tallyman plays a crucial role in cargo operations, helping to ensure accuracy, accountability, and efficiency in the handling of cargo. Their work is especially important in bulk cargo operations, where large quantities of homogeneous goods (such as grains, coal, or iron ore) are loaded or discharged, making accurate counting and recording essential.
A “Tally Clause” is a provision typically found in a bill of lading or a charter party agreement. This clause stipulates the party responsible for counting (tallying) the goods or cargo during the loading or unloading process. The clause is included to ensure that the number of goods specified in the cargo documents matches the actual quantity being loaded or unloaded from the vessel.
The importance of the tally clause comes from the fact that cargo quantities can sometimes be disputed. If there’s a discrepancy between the quantity of cargo loaded or unloaded and the quantity specified in the shipping documents, it can lead to conflicts between the shipper, the carrier, and the consignee. The tally clause can help to clarify who was responsible for tallying the cargo, and thus who should bear the responsibility for any discrepancies.
It’s worth noting that the specific wording of the tally clause can vary depending on the form of the charter party agreement or bill of lading. Some tally clauses may specify that the tally taken by the ship’s staff will be considered as final, while others may state that the tally taken by the stevedores or an independent third party will be the definitive one.
As with any clause in a legal agreement, the tally clause should be read and understood by all parties before the agreement is signed. If there’s any confusion about the meaning or implications of the clause, legal advice should be sought.
What are the duties of a cargo Tallyman (Tally Clerk)?
A cargo tallyman, also known as a tally clerk, plays an essential role in ensuring the accurate movement and documentation of cargo during shipping operations. Here are some of the main duties and responsibilities of a cargo tallyman:
- Counting Cargo: The primary duty of a tallyman is to physically count each item of cargo as it’s loaded onto or unloaded from a ship. This is to ensure that the quantities match those specified in the cargo documents, such as the bill of lading or the cargo manifest.
- Recording Information: As they count the cargo, tallymen also record the information in a tally book or on a tally sheet. This includes the number of items, as well as any relevant details about the items, such as their condition, size, type, or any other identifying features.
- Inspecting Cargo: A tallyman may also be responsible for inspecting the cargo as it’s being loaded or unloaded. This can include checking for signs of damage or other discrepancies, and noting these on the tally sheet.
- Preparing Reports: After the tallying process is complete, the tallyman typically prepares a tally report. This report provides a detailed record of the cargo handling operation, including the quantity and condition of the cargo, and any discrepancies that were noted.
- Communicating with Other Parties: A tallyman may also need to communicate with other parties involved in the shipping operation, such as the ship’s master, the stevedores (workers who load and unload the ship), and the charterer or shipper. This can involve reporting on the progress of the loading or unloading operation, resolving any issues that arise, and ensuring that all parties have accurate and up-to-date information about the cargo.
- Verifying Freight Documents: In some cases, a tallyman might also be responsible for verifying the accuracy of freight documents. This can involve comparing the actual cargo with the descriptions and quantities listed on the documents, and reporting any discrepancies.
- Ensuring Safety: Tallymen must also ensure that they adhere to all safety protocols during the tallying process to ensure their own safety and that of their colleagues.
- Monitoring Loading/Unloading Operations: In some scenarios, tally clerks may also oversee the loading and unloading procedures to ensure that they are carried out correctly and safely. They may be required to alert the relevant authorities if there are any issues that could affect the safety or efficiency of the operations.
- Coordinating with Surveyors: Tallymen often work closely with marine surveyors, especially when cargo is damaged or when there is a discrepancy between the cargo listed in the shipping documents and the cargo that is actually loaded or unloaded. They assist in identifying, documenting and reporting such issues.
- Dispute Resolution: In cases of disagreements about the quantity or state of the cargo, the tallyman plays an important role. The information they have recorded can help resolve disputes between the shipping company, the cargo owner, and other parties involved in the shipping process.
- Compliance with Regulations: Tallymen are also responsible for ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations and standards. This includes local laws and regulations, as well as international standards for cargo handling and safety.
- Maintaining Tally Equipment: If the tally process involves the use of equipment like barcode readers or electronic tally systems, the tallyman might also be responsible for maintaining this equipment, ensuring it’s in good working order, and troubleshooting any problems that arise.
- Training and Supervision: More experienced tallymen may be tasked with training new recruits, guiding them through the tally process, and supervising their work to ensure accuracy and consistency.
The tallyman (tally clerk) is a key figure in maritime cargo operations, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of cargo movements. The tallyman’s (tally clerk’s) role requires meticulous attention to detail, good numeracy skills, and a strong understanding of shipping procedures and documentation. The tallyman’s (tally clerk’s) work helps to minimize disputes, prevent cargo loss, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cargo operations.