A standardized visual inspection method guides certified inspectors through assessments of the condition of shipping containers. An inspection starts with the identification of a container based on exterior ISO markings, the CSC Safety Approval Plate or a combined data plate. Inspectors can then assess the condition of seven key components:
- Container Undercarriage: Are the support beams visible? Is the understructure intact?
- Container Doors: Do doors have any loose bolts or plates? Is the locking mechanism functional?
- Right Side: Are the structural beams intact with no signs of unusual repairs? Are there any signs of hidden compartments or false walls?
- Front Wall: Are blocks and vents visible? Is there a hollow sound when tapping the wall with a tool?
- Left Side: Are there any signs of unusual repairs to structural beams? Are there any indications of false walls or hidden compartments?
- Container Floor: Is the floor flat with a consistent height inside the container? Does the floor show signs of unusual repairs or hidden compartments?
- Container Roof: Are there any indications of potential roof leaks? Are there any signs of unusual repairs that could indicate hidden compartments?
An inspection should proceed with container contents, including the lashings used to secure cargo. Inspectors should also examine bills of lading, invoices and packing lists to ensure that cargo is correctly declared. Legal requirements, such as regulatory mandates, remain relevant throughout the inspection process.