Want to Conduct a Container Survey? A Guide for Surveyors
  • September 15, 2023

Containers are essential to international trade because they help move commodities across oceans and continents. Which makes it crucial to ensure that these containers are highly reliable and safe. Container surveyors can be useful in this situation. This manual is for you if you're thinking of performing a container survey or working as a surveyor for another person.

Who’s a Container Surveyor?

A container surveyor is a skilled individual who inspects shipping containers to determine their condition, safety, and appropriateness for cargo transfer. They act as the shipping industry's quality control inspectors, ensuring that containers fulfill international safety standards and are fit for use.

Who needs a container survey report?

Various stakeholders in the shipping and logistics industry rely on container survey reports:

  • Shippers

    Those who are sending goods overseas want to ensure that their cargo will be safe during transit. They use container survey reports to verify the condition of the containers before loading.

  • Shipping Lines

    Container survey reports help shipping lines maintain their fleet and identify containers that need maintenance or repairs.

  • Insurance Companies

    Insurance providers use survey reports to assess the risk associated with insuring cargo and containers.

  • Customs Authorities

    Customs officials may require survey reports to verify the condition and contents of containers, especially for import and export inspections.

  • Buyers and Sellers

    In some cases, buyers and sellers of goods may request a container survey to ensure the quality and condition of products during shipping.

Types of container surveys

Container surveys come in various types, depending on their purpose and scope. Here are the most common types:

  • Pre-Ship Inspection

    This is a standard examination performed prior to loading a container with cargo. The inspection ensures the condition of container to be clean and safe.

  • On-Hire Survey

    Conducted when a shipping line leases or rents out a container to verify its condition before releasing it to the lessee.

  • Off-Hire Survey

    Done when a container is returned to the shipping line or owner after a lease or rental period. It assesses any damage or wear and tear during the lease.

  • In-Service Inspection

    Periodic inspections are conducted during a container's operational life to ensure it remains fit for use.

  • Damage Survey

    Performed when a container has been involved in an accident or suffered damage during transit. The surveyor assesses the extent of damage and provides a repair estimate.

7-point inspection checklist for the container survey report

Container surveyors follow a comprehensive checklist to assess the condition of a container thoroughly. Here is a simplified 7-point checklist commonly used in container surveys,

  • Structural Integrity

    Inspect the container for any visible damage, such as dents, holes, or corrosion, that may affect its structural integrity.

  • Doors and Seals

    Check the container doors for proper alignment, sealing, and locking mechanisms. Ensure they open and close smoothly.

  • Floor Condition

    Check the container floor for any imperfections like cracks or holes that could jeopardize the integrity of the contents.

  • Interior Cleanliness

    Examine the interior for cleanliness and the absence of any contaminating substances, scents, or leftover cargo.

  • Ventilation and Insulation

    Check the insulation and cooling system for refrigeration in the containers.

  • Identification and Marking

    Verify that the container's markings, including the ISO code, serial number, and owner's markings, are correct and readable.

  • Container Data Plate

    Verify the data plate's accuracy and completeness, paying particular attention to the tare weight and maximum payload.

Responsibilities of a container surveyor

In the shipping sector, container surveyors are essential to preserving the security and dependability of containers.

  • Carrying out rigorous inspections in accordance with industry standards and rules.
  • Accurately recording, via pictures, the state of containers.
  • Giving stakeholders in-depth reports that highlight any problems and offer suggestions for resolutions.
  • Providing advice on repairs and upkeep as needed.
  • Observing safety guidelines and benchmarks while conducting inspections.
  • Keeping abreast with market trends, rules, and best practices.

Find a qualified container surveyor with Fairlead Inspection

Inspection and testing companies like Fairlead Inspection can be useful if you're looking for a container surveyor or want to become one. Finding the ideal specialist for your needs is made simpler thanks to Fairlead Inspection's trained surveyors.


What is a container surveyor?

A qualified expert who is in charge of assuring the dependability and safety of shipping containers is known as a container surveyor. They examine containers to make whether they are in good shape, have solid structures, and are suitable for carrying cargo. These professionals are essential in averting mishaps and making sure freight reaches its destination undamaged.

What is a container survey report?

A thorough survey report that summarizes the results of a container is known as a container survey report. These have the details regarding the state of the container, any damages or problems found, suggested solutions, and photographic proof. For stakeholders including shippers, shipping lines, insurance providers, and customs officials to make informed judgments about the use of containers and the safety of cargo, these reports are crucial.

What is container inspection?

The process for container inspection lies in the determination of their condition, safety, and appropriateness for transit is known as container inspection. It entails thoroughly evaluating the container's structural integrity, cleanliness, ventilation systems, and other features. The inspection requires a guarantee which qualifies the containers to satisfy international standards and are safe to transport cargo.


The surveys hold the utmost importance in analyzing the container's safety and dependability of shipping containers in the global commerce sector. Understanding their role and responsibilities is crucial whether you're a stakeholder in need of a survey report or a container surveyor considering a career.

The process adheres to the industry norms and utilization of current systems such as Fairlead Inspection. One gets to streamline the processes of hiring competent surveyors and ensuring the seamless and secure transit of goods around the world.

Fairlead - Your Ultimate Choice for Inspection Services

At Fairlead, we understand that the integrity of shipping containers is paramount to the success of global trade. Our team of highly skilled and certified inspectors meticulously assesses every container, adhering to the highest industry standards. Our thorough inspections provide our clients with detailed Container Inspection Reports that serve as a testament to our dedication to transparency and accuracy.

In a world where reliability and safety are non-negotiable, Fairlead inspection and testing is the trusted partner that businesses across the globe turn to. Whether you are a shipper, shipping line, or a stakeholder in the logistics industry, you can rely on Fairlead to deliver meticulous inspections, accurate reporting, and unparalleled service.

When you choose Fairlead, you are not just selecting a service provider; you are choosing a partner dedicated to your success. With us by your side, you can navigate the complex waters of international trade with confidence, knowing that your cargo is in the best possible hands.

Fairlead Inspection & Testing

TIC Services Provider

Fairlead Inspection & Testing is a leading company specializing in comprehensive inspection and testing services. We are dedicated team of experts in the field of inspection and testing services, with years of experience in ensuring safety and compliance in various industries.