New SGS DST and DST Lite become important tools for fertilizer shipping
SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection, and certification group is pleased to announce that its Draft Survey Tool (DST) is now available for the use of fertilizer trade across North America. After a successful pilot project over the past 18 months in the United States, SGS launched the DST Lite tool worldwide, which will be of particular importance for the fertilizer industry.
SGS, the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification group is pleased to announce that its Draft Survey Tool (DST) is now available for the use of fertilizer trade across North America. After a successful pilot project over the past 18 months in the United States, SGS launched the DST Lite tool worldwide, which will be of particular importance for the fertilizer industry. The innovative DST is revolutionizing draft surveys as it is the only tool on the market that allows inspectors to measure, with more precision, the draft mark readings which are key for the weight determination on board a vessel, while ensuring inspector safety.
A draft survey is a method of cargo weight determination where the vessel’s displacement figures in empty and loaded condition are recorded. The difference between both scenarios will determine the weight of the shipment loaded or unloaded from the vessel. The draft survey utilizes draft mark readings painted on the side of a vessel. As a visual and subjective process until the introduction of the DST, these marks had to be observed over time and from a distance in the water, from the deck of a vessel or from the port's quay, through precarious wind and wave swells. In the case of the transportation of fertilizer, this ‘hit or miss’ target of providing accurate readings has occasionally led to serious disputes between the shipper and the receiver. For instance, an incorrect measurement of as little as a single centimeter could result in a 100 metric ton discrepancy in a cargo shipment and potentially initiate a commercial dispute that could run in the millions of dollars.
As the fertilizer industry grows and trade increases, there is an expanded need for innovation. According to the asstra.com trade website: “Fertilizer manufacturers, traders, and consumers are in constant search of solutions to optimize logistics costs, which significantly affect the final costs of the goods. In order to sell logistics services successfully in the chemical industry, it is necessary to study the cargo precisely, i.e. its properties, storage, and transportation conditions.”
SGS created the DST to address clients’ needs for cost control and accuracy, while ensuring the safety of inspectors. The group understands challenges and the dangers of taking measurements visually where weather, water conditions and the experience of the surveyor could impact the results. The DST takes advantage of the latest technologies with an accuracy rate to within two millimeters in 30 meters, using an algorithm which speaks to the reliability of this method.
Once operational, another problem to solve with the space between the barges that are frequently transporting fertilizer on the Mississippi River coming down to mere inches when the vessels are side by side in port either being loaded or discharged. As a result, SGS created the DST Lite, with a circumference of one square inch allowing it to take accurate measurements in the smallest of spaces, where the regular DST could not fit. With either tool, the results are digital and are transmitted in real time to an APP on a surveyor’s phone in the case of the DST Lite, or saved on the device in the case of the DST and then stored in the cloud.
“It is a source of pride for SGS to be on the leading edge of innovation once again,” said Carlos Cordoba, SGS Trades Director for North America Minerals Services. “Our focus continues to be advancing technology while improving employee productivity and safety. This focus is among our core values as a global leader in trade and inspection.”
The DST and DST Lite are where inspiration, ingenuity, innovation, and the needs of the fertilizer industry meet.
SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories in 148 countries around the world.
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Head of Regional Communications, SGS North America