Occasionally, the CoR Helpdesk receives questions from concerned parties, uncertain about where they fit in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) and therefore, what their obligations are.
A company that grows and processes seafood (it could be any type of food stuff for this example) loads its products onto trucks according to its transport company’s directions. The transport company distributes the goods, sometimes direct and sometimes after they redistribute the load at one of their yards.
The questions is: Where does the food producer’s CoR responsibilities start and finish?
To us, it sounds like this type of business is at the lower end of CoR risk.
However, the company is a consignor and is also the loading manager under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
The main CoR issues for companies like this will be ensuring (so far as reasonably practicable) that the transport company’s drivers:
- are not driving while fatigued;
- the transport company’s vehicles do not speed;
- the transport company’s vehicles are not overloaded; and
- (to the best of your expertise) the goods are appropriately secured on the trucks.
You should develop a CoR policy (that reflects these points) and incorporate it into your contract with the transport company.
You could also ask them to show you that they have a system for managing the above risks.
To help lighten the load of assessing the soundness of that system and whether they are complying with it, you may wish to require that they sign up to a third-party compliance program.
You should then periodically observe that the above are not being breached and, if you have any concerns, raise and resolve them with the transport operator immediately.
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