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What is tallying cargo?

To tally is "to check" or "keep a record" of all cargo loaded into or discharged from a vessel. It is an essential part of cargo work in order to prevent claims, sometimes illegitimate, upon the ship or stevedores for short discharge or loading.

What is tallying cargo?

As is often the case, there are so many channels through which consignments have to pass before they eventually reach the consignee after discharge that much confusion and worry can be avoided, if the shipper and carrier safeguard their own interests.

The tallying of a cargo should be made in alphabetically indexed books, one for each hatch and each port of discharge, and should consist of records of all marks and numbers of the goods, description, quantity, disposition of stow within a compartment.

A ship's responsibility ends when the cargo crosses the rail, therefore tallying should be made on board the vessel and not, as it often happens, ashore in the warehouse.

Tallying is done by shore and ship's tallymen. The tallyman counts the number of cargo pieces in each draft before they are removed from the sling. If a draft is some pieces short or extra the tallyman must inform a stevedore about it on the spot.

Tallies should be compared and agreed at the end of the day between the ship tally and shore tally and any difference immediately investigated. In some cases it may even be necessary to retally a consignment if the discrepancy is large.