How should you act when your cargo has been damaged or lost during a shipment and you intend to file a claim with the carrier?

Here are some tips about what to keep in mind when making a freight claim of damage.

What to do immediately upon discovery of damage:

  • Make a note about the damage to the cargo on the waybill (CMR) immediately. It does not matter where on the CMR the note is written. However, it should be fully legible and visible.

Claim photo 1 e.g.: “The cargo was damaged upon arrival at the place of unloading. 3 pallets of particle boards are soaked with water and rendered unusable. 30.11.2011 at 14:53 John Smith“

  • Take photos of the damaged cargo immediately, prior to unloading. Try to ensure that the photo shows both the damaged cargo and the registration number of the trailer.

Claim photo 2Should that be impossible, take the photos keeping in mind that they should prove that the goods were damaged upon arrival at the place of unloading, not during the unloading process.

Those first steps of preparing a claim provide you with the right and opportunity to file a due claim with the carrier shortly thereafter.

The claim (of compensation) may be written as free text and it should preferably include the following:

  • A monetary or proprietary claim against the carrier, including an explanation of the estimate of the damage amount.

Claim photo 3 e.g.: “3 pallets of particle boards were damaged during the shipment, the damage amounts to £80“

  • A document attached to the claim, confirming the itemized value of the cargo.

Claim photo 4
e.g.: sales invoice, packing list


  • Proof backed up with facts, which shall clarify your statement that the carrier is at fault for the damage to the cargo.

e.g.: “The 3 pallets were damaged due to soaking with rainwater, caused by a damaged trailer cover leaking rainwater“

  • The waybill (CMR) for the executed shipment, including a note regarding the damage
  • A photo of the damaged cargo

Claim photo 5In case of visually non-detectable damage, the claim shall be submitted in writing within 7 days from the date of receipt of the cargo.

Do not delay in filing of the claim! Unjustified delay may result in loss of the right of claim.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us!