Summary and Appraisal
The process of marine cargo management is both complex and timeconsuming. It is also deﬁnitive, precise and exacting. It involves a variety of means of maritime transport and shipment, although, if it is carried out correctly and accurately, it will save a great deal of unnecessary delay and inconvenience to all parties concerned. It is also tightly regulated, and requires a strict duty of care on the part of carriers and shippers, as well as due diligence by all parties concerned. However, with the introduction and implementation of electronic systems, it has become easier for shippers and carriers to manage the marine cargo ﬂow process. The use of electronic means for both documentary and procedural processes has resulted in a smoother and more efﬁcient ﬂow of information, as well as providing a better and more manageable audit trail and tracking process with regard to ensuring that cargoes are transported efﬁciently from one part of the world to another, as long as the correct information is used. However, there is still a need for knowledge and awareness of regulations and processes for cargo management on the part of shippers, agents and carriers, and this involves ensuring that all aspects of the maritime shipping process are understood and applied correctly. Failure to understand and carry out the correct procedures can lead to costly – and often tragic – mistakes, as illustrated by accidents aboard the vessel. Many accidents have occurred to vessels en route because of a breakdown in the cargo management process, as well as various maritime disputes because of a failure to understand basic shipping principles. Knowledge of this process is a vital necessity, despite its relative complexity. This is why there are so many facets and perspectives to the business of marine cargo management, and why, in many ways, it is impossible for one person to know and manage the whole process. In this way, there are also different professions engaged in the business, all specialising in different aspects of the cargo management process. However, a basic knowledge of the principles of cargo management is required by most people involved in the process of international business, as this enables each party involved in the overall process of the international supply chain to communicate effectively with other parties involved in the process elsewhere.