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Sea Freight

When Sea Transport is at its Worst!


Sea transport is still unquestionably one of the major modes of art conveyance. This is due to the immense size of sea freight and the cost compared to air transport. 


We recognize the increased risk when it comes to art transit by sea. We are aware that there are inherent risks much greater than transportation by air.

Displayed below are some facts about the current dilemmas facing sea transportation:

  • Saltwater can damage the artworks due to the vents being open in the metal containers. Exposure to salt over a long voyage they can cause long-term devastating effects e.g. damage to furniture veneers and cracking of pictures which would not be noticed until it is unpacked at its final destination.
  • Modern cargo ships also do not have enclosed holds and instead they are stacked vertically from the bottom of the hold upwards to far above deck height. These cargo holds are not even effectively locked as they are usually just held with a latch.
  • Large waves may never be thought about but due to the G-force that the ship goes through, it could impact your artworks if they are not packed properly for the long haul journey.
  • While there is little theft on board a ship, the danger of valuable items being stolen at container terminals could happen due to the lack of security.
  • Pirates! Yes believe it or not but growing reports of pirates seizing freights is happening along the coasts of Africa and the Indian Ocean. 
  • At portside the risk of handling the cargo off the ship may be another risk for example storage of the object would be left at the port outdoors rather than in a hangar at an airport where the cargo is maintained indoors so the humidity levels are controlled and in a securer setting. 


But don’t let this stop you from using sea transportation ever again as a means of moving your personal belongings. Just be aware of the risks and why not ask your art handlers personally how they are going to protect your belongings! 

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Charles Art / Insurance provides high-quality art and jewellery insurance services based on your specific needs. If you have good security, protection and nil insurance claim record, we can offer you very competitive insurance terms. Even if your record isn't perfect, we still offer good terms. Please feel free to call us for a free consultation from us.