Standard Bill of Lading - Terms & Conditions
APL provides professional, responsive claims handling to assist you in the event of loss or damage to your cargo while in the care of APL or its representatives. The following is designed to answer your questions and guide you through the claims process.
My goods are damaged or missing. What should I do?
Immediately report the damage or loss by contacting our agent or our Customer Service Manager at your local APL office.
If the estimated value of the damaged goods exceeds $5,000 (U.S.), APL will order a survey to jointly inspect the damaged goods with you to determine the circumstances surrounding the damage or loss. If your cargo is insured, you should contact your insurance company to obtain instructions on the appointment of a surveyor by your insurance company. If a cargo surveyor was not instructed, please document the extent and type of damage to the goods and to the container and take photographs, if possible.
In the event of missing goods, note the full seal numbers for all seals, inspect for possible tampering, and retain the seals until your claim is concluded. Please note that under APL’s Bill of Lading terms and conditions any party receiving goods from a carrier is to give the carrier written notice of the nature and extent of loss or damage, either at the time the goods are removed from the carrier’s custody or no later than three days after delivery if the loss or damage is concealed or otherwise not apparent at time of delivery.
What are cargo owner's responsibilities?
Mitigation of loss: It is the cargo owner’s responsibility to take all reasonable steps to mitigate the loss (e.g., separating wet goods, cleaning, repackaging, and salvage, if necessary). This also includes accepting delivery of goods that are damage upon opening of the container.
To whom should I send the claim?
Submit the claim to your insurer and to the contractual party(s) deemed most likely to have caused the loss or damage for example, ocean carrier, rail carrier, or dray/trucking company.
To file your claim with APL, email your documents to
What documents should I send?
No specific form is required; however, all claims should include: 1. A letter detailing the nature and extent of your loss or damage, as well as the amount being claimed. Please reference the Bill of Lading number. 2. A copy of the following documents:
- Shipper’s (commercial) invoice
- Shipper’s packing list
- Delivery receipt
- Devanning tally with seal numbers noted
- Paid customs entry form
- Original bill of lading
- If available, reconditioning or repair invoices
- Salvage invoice if cargo was salvaged
- Phytosanitory certificates (reefer cargo)
Your claim can be resolved in a timely manner if the initial claim is submitted with full documentation.
Our commitment to serve you
We acknowledge all claims within five working days of receipt. We will make every attempt to resolve customer claims in a timely manner upon receipt of a fully documented claim.
Things to remember
As your carrier, upon receipt of a fully documented claim, we will process your claim in accordance with APL’s applicable legal and contractual obligations. APL’s legal obligations are governed by international maritime laws such as the U.S. Carriage of Goods by Sea Act— 1936 ("COGSA"), or the Hague/Hague Visby Rules and/or relevant laws and statutes applicable in your jurisdiction. For details, please refer to clause 6 of APL’s Bill of Lading terms and conditions.
Per package/unit limitation:
In the absence of a declaration of value at the time of shipment and payment of an ad valorem rate, carrier liability is limited to $500 (U.S.) per package in the US or, for goods not shipped in packages, per customary freight unit. Where a specific jurisdiction dictates the application of the Hague/Hague Visby Rules or their equivalent, the per package/unit limitation determined by the applicable laws.
Time for claim/suit:
Suit for loss or damage generally needs to be filed within one year from the date the cargo was delivered or should have been delivered, unless a written request for extension has been received and granted by APL prior to expiration of the one year "statute of limitations".
Please note that while the time limit to file is generally one year, however, depending on your local statutes and jurisdiction, a different time limit may apply. You should seek the advice of your insurer or local counsel if you are unsure.