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Hello Friday! Today, we’re gonna talk about CLS or Container Loading Supervision. What is it? Why is it important? How do we do the CLS? Last week, I had a Container Loading Supervision check at Hongkong. Here is how the journey was, and I hope you can get the broad image of how the CLS is done.


Discovering Container Loading Supervision

People may wonder, what Container Loading Supervision is. Is it an inspection? What is the different with the FPI (final product inspection)? Or is it only Sales people way to differ the service?

Last year, I had a customer that had been sourcing from China several times and none of the orders went right. He was cheated on the products’ weight and length, he was cheated on the quantity, etc. 1 of his issues with his supplier that I also remember was, his supplier swapped his product with the worse quality product before the shipment. How did he know that his product had been swapped? Before shipment, supplier gave him the evidence of all of his products that would be shipped, complete with the packaging, packing list, etc. But, when it arrived at his place, ta-daaaaaaaa, only few of them were right! Boom! 

Scary, right? So, how to prevent this? Container Loading Supervision is the answer.

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Timeline of when you better do the CLS

Container Loading Supervision is an inspection that is done when the products are going to be loaded in the container. The inspector does a basic product inspection (quantities, appearance, labels, packing) and also checks export cartons and shipping marks. But, it is different from the FPI. 2 big differences between FPI and CLS:

1.  Inspector checks a big sample in FPI, but in the CLS inspector only checks a small sample.

2. Inspector checks the container condition, the products loading process, until the container leaves factory, whereas FPI doesn’t check them.

1. Firstly, inspector will inspect your products.
2. After he finishes the products inspection, your products will be rewrapped and sealed with the inspection company’s seal tape. The seal tape is very useful as a threat for the supplier, so that they won’t dare to touch your products anymore. The seal tape can also indicate the end of your products inspection journey.


Products say “Thank you for inspecting us”

3. After that, inspector needs to check the container type and condition. He needs to make sure it is clean, and that is ready to be loaded. Besides, he also needs to record the container number, make sure the container can be well locked, check size, check if it is waterproof, etc.
4. Next step, he needs to monitor the loading process. He needs to make sure he knows where they put every carton inside the container. For example, if some cartons are put at the back he needs to write it on the monitoring sheet.
5. Once they have finished the loading, the driver will seal the container with a seal, the inspector needs to record the seal number and take pictures, and make sure the container leaves.
6. Finally, if you analyze statement no. 2, you can conclude when the inspector finishes his work in CLS. Yes, his work is done when the container that contains your products leaves the factory.

At this point, you can also conclude some of CLS’s functions and importances. It’s very important to make sure that your products won’t be swapped with your suppliers, to make sure that your products arrive safely at the destination, to make sure the size and the weight of the packaging to prevent any penalties, and if your container undergoes problems, your container can be tracked.

Each country has their own regulations for export and import. CLS also helps to fulfill some specific countries’ regulation, for example Mexico. In Mexico, CLS report is used by the importer as a certificate explaining what is inside the container, he has a proof that in the container there is only what the packing list says. Once the container arrives to Mexico, it needs to go through a police control, it is mandatory for all containers, but if the customer already did a CLS to the container, he doesn’t need to. He can just show the report to the authorities and they will approve it. At last, the container can be taken home immediately. This is very good to save money and time!

On the spot

Last week, I had a CLS inspection in Hongkong. The product was phones for Mexico’s customer. The inspection was located at the warehouse of a forwarding company in Northern Hongkong. Luckily, the location is very convenient for our Shenzhen office. It took me around 40 minutes from my house to get to the warehouse.


Inside the warehouse

Products were already at the warehouse when I arrived so I could start the inspection when I got there and when I finished it the truck was ready to be loaded so it was very fast.


One of the product piles


Packaging’s size and weight check


Phone’s final inspection


Container’s conditions and type check. Humidity, rust, leak, etc.


Lock system check


Loading Process


Making sure it’s securely locked

The cooperation with forwarder is very important in any case. Like in my case, even though the forwarder didn’t have the packing list (which it was better if he had!), still a good cooperation prevents any misunderstandings that can cause problems during the CLS.

So, CLS is not inspection companies’ way to boost sales, NO, NO, NO! It’s one of the most important steps to make sure that your products will arrive safely at your hand 🙂
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