Moisture is the big enemy of the international rice trade. Even when shippers take the utmost care during the processing of the product, rice cargos often reach their destination with wet damage. When this happens, losses can be significant as salvage values for mouldy rice are low.
Wet damage occurs when drops of condensation fall from the ceiling of the container during the sea crossing from warm, humid zones to colder climes.
According to UKP&I, a leading mutual for shipowners and charterers, wet damage accounts for over one third of cargo claims and nearly half of the associated costs. Insurers do not always settle claims as some policies exclude wet damage on the basis that it is not a fortuitous loss and can be controlled when precautions are taken.
There are simple and cost-effective ways of protecting rice cargos from moisture. At DCX Rice (formerly Rice Exchange) we have carried out extensive trials on container shipments from Asia to West Africa. The excellent results of the trials led us to develop a Moisture Prevention Programme for rice transported in containers with our dedicated insurance broker Siaci Saint Honore.
The programme involves lining the sides of the container with Kraft paper and adding Dry Bags filled with calcium chloride that can absorb up to four times their own weight. Once the Dry Bags have absorbed the moisture in the air they hold it unlike some traditional moisture-absorbing materials that have limited absorption capacity resulting in moisture being re-injected into the container once the bags are saturated. The bags recommended by Rice Exchange are biodegradable and do not harm the environment.
Any buyer that adheres to the DCX Rice Moisture Prevention Programme is eligible to apply for dedicated DCX Rice insurance cover from the best European insurance underwriters. Securing good insurance cover is difficult for many buyers today as underwriters are reluctant to provide cover on routes where wet damage is a significant source of claims.
Intertek and ISC, which are integrated on DCX Rice, are accredited by insurance underwriters Baloise to certify that Moisture Prevention measures have been applied during stuffing of the rice in containers. This gives both parties peace of mind and reduces claims benefiting both the policyholder and the insurance company.