Many countries have introduced legislation concerning use of asbestos because of the considerable risks associated with its handling or processing. Handling asbestos responsibly demands much expertise. We have that expertise, incorporated into a Council for Accreditation-approved quality assurance system.

Our Atomic Absorption Units are particularly useful for measuring low levels of elements in all metallurgical materials.

The Bill of Lading acts as a receipt for goods taken onboard a vessel and it provides information about the nature, quantity and description of those goods. It is evidence of a contract of carriage between the shipper and carrier by which the carrier has agreed to transport the goods by sea. It gives title to the goods and can be given to the carrier in exchange for the goods. Bills of Lading are normally issued in duplicate or triplicate. Traditionally, one original was issued to the shipper, a second kept by the Master and the shipowner retained the third. However, normally all originals are handed to the shipper to reduce risk of falling into the wrong hands (an original Bill of Lading gives title to the goods). Once an original Bill of Lading has been surrendered and the goods have been obtained, any remaining Bill of Lading becomes void.

Any survey to establish the quantity, and in some instances, quality of the oil, fuel and fresh water remaining on board a vessel.

The standard of static weighing facilities can vary considerably depending on location, maintenance level and general condition of the facility. This survey ensures that a detailed report is produced to reflect conditions at the time of usage and that every precaution has been taken to produce an accurate weight. We insist that recognised test weights are used and that documentation verifying the last official calibration of the facility be made available for inspection.

This is the agreement between the vessel owner and the party who chartered it, either for a specific period of time (“time charter”) or to perform a series of voyages (“voyage charter”). In a time charter, the shipowner pays all the shipping costs, such as the crew, provisions and bunkering (ie fuel and water), but the port and cargo handling charges are a matter of negotiation. The charterer pays for the carriage of the goods; “freight” (which is generally based on the quantity of goods shipped on a tonnage rate per ton or a lump sum) can be pre-agreed. If the charterer loads less than the minimum quantity contemplated in the agreement, they will be liable for a “dead freight” calculated on the shortage of quantity loaded to compensate the shipowners for sailing part empty.

A CIF contract is one in which the seller agrees to sell goods to their buyer for the price of the goods and the cost of insuring and transporting them from place of origin to destination. Once the goods are aboard the vessel and the seller has tendered the appropriate shipping documentation (ie Bill of Lading, Policy of Insurance and commercial invoice), they have fulfilled their part of the contract and are entitled to payment. The seller has no responsibility for the goods, even if lost or damaged during the voyage. However, the buyer can claim against the carrier or the cargo insurers. Once shipped, the seller is generally under obligation to “appropriate” the goods to the contract (ie tell the buyer that the goods are on a specific vessel).

This will ensure that the vessel, barge or container you intend to use fulfils technical and maritime requirements.

One of the most established methods of calculating cargo weight. We have many years’ experience and a wide range of technical resources to draw upon to ensure that our clients receive a precise, high-quality service. Similarly, our barge gauging services determine the quantity of cargo loaded or discharged from river barges. These surveys can be carried out for either dry bulk or liquid cargoes.

The seller’s price in a standard FOB contract consists of the cost of the goods and the expense of placing them onboard a buyer-nominated vessel. When a cargo is sold on an FOB basis, the buyer nominates the inspection company. Ensuring that the seller’s goods are placed onboard the buyer’s vessel at the right place and time requires cooperation between the two parties. The buyer is obliged to inform the seller of their nominated vessel, usually ten days before arrival at port.

Federation  of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations. Alex Stewart and A Norman Tate are Superintendent and Analyst members of FOSFA, while A Norman Tate is a founder member of FOSFA.

Grain and Feed Trade Association, the UK regulating institution for the grain and feed trade. Alex Stewart and Huson and Hardwick laboratories are GAFTA Superintendents and Analysts.

Vessels and other means of transport of liquid cargoes (especially oil derivatives) require a Gas Free Certificate, according to the latest International regulations (IMCO CODE). Our reliable inspection will allow you to obtain this certificate and apply it with full confidence.


Granulometry is more simply explained as particle sizing. Granulometry testing is determined by placing samples through standardised metal sieves. Sizes can vary greatly and have either square or round holes. They are normally used to determine whether a product is within a given size specification, however, they can also be used in agricultural products to investigate infestation.

Laboratory scale testing used to separate heavy from light fractions using specific equipment, such as the Knelson concentrator (ie gravity concentration apparatus).

Also known as the bulk sample. A composite of all increment samples or all sub samples.

Hatch hose testing is used to establish whether ship’s hatch seals and covers are watertight. The ship’s own or a shore-side hose is used to vigorously spray all areas of the hatch cover joints and hold-seal areas. The process is usually carried out for half an hour, after which time the hatch covers are opened and the empty holds are inspected for water ingress. In this way, the surveyor can then accept or reject the vessel for loading.

There are two main quality characteristics of wheat and both primarily applying to flour usage – gluten and alpha amylase activity. The former is tested by various measures and the latter by the Hagberg test. Hagberg falling number (HFN) is an indicator of the alpha amylase activity in the flour. A high HFN means low alpha amylase activity, meaning the flour is less degraded by the enzyme. The flour is heated in water and the rate of the fall of a plunger is measured. The usual commercial minimum for bread-making is 250 for Hagberg falling number. Strong, extensible gluten is required for bread so that loaves rise a lot without creating big holes, but a weak gluten is needed for wheats used to make biscuits. Low alpha amylase activity is required for both, because alpha amylase turns starch to sugar, thereby preventing proper dough characteristics.

This is performed to determine whether the holds are clean, dry and free of previously shipped cargo. Each hold should be individually inspected, accepted or rejected by the attending surveyor. The holds should be free of odour, without paint peeling or heavy rust that could flake into the cargo designated for loading. All accessible areas of the hold and hatch covers should be thoroughly examined, because previously shipped commodities could remain in hard-to-reach areas. The hatch covers should be opened and closed at least twice in the presence of the attending surveyor, to establish whether previously shipped cargo is hidden under the exposed hatch cover areas.

This is the thorough inspection of the cargo compartment and hatch covers to determine suitability for carrying the proposed cargo and that the customer’s specified requirements for cleanliness are met. Inspection of the compartment for any damage  can prevent harm to the cargo and claims against the customer for damage that is not their fault.

Sealing of the hatch covers with tape or sealing foam/compound, as an additional precaution against water ingress.

If a vessel you have been using suffers hull or engine damage, we can perform an inspection and provide a certificate that will outline the full extent of the damage caused. Any survey of the hull could include engine, decks, pipes, bilges, hatches, ventilators, gangways, tanks, lighting and other fittings and structures within the vessel.

The ICP Emission Spectrometer is used to analyse a wide range of metals for low detection trace level to sub PPM percentages, using a modern CID detector capable of simultaneous multi-elemental detection with great precision.

This is the material taken by a single motion of any sampling device. This could involve the use of a shovel, sounding pipe, spear or automatic system.

A competent surveyor is employed by their principal for many reasons. A fundamental part of their remit is to assess any prevailing damage to goods and to minimise loss/maximise profitability. The surveyor will coordinate with stevedores or warehouse personnel to segregate damaged goods and salvage as much of the commodity as possible.

Goods and financial interests in maritime transport are subject to damages and losses for many reasons. Our experts can protect your interests, because they secure your rights to compensation for damages to goods or if your financial interests are threatened.

A Mate’s Receipt is a receipt made out normally by the ship’s First Officer, stating the quantity, description and condition of goods received on board. It is normally issued in the name of and given to the shipper of the goods. Mate’s Receipts are only temporary documents because, once loading is completed, they are exchanged for the Bill of Lading issued.

Prior to shipment, this survey will give guidance on the general condition of the material. If required, a sample can be drawn to produce an approximate analysis. This type of survey is often essential in new markets.

To ascertain the quantities of fuel oil remaining on board of a vessel at time of delivery to Time Charters or return to owners and if required, to survey the condition of cargo compartments with regard to existing and/or claimed damages.

At any bulking installation loading, unloading and other pumping lines are used interchangeably for different types of oils or different products of the same oil. The oil left behind in any pipeline after the pumping operation could be as much as 5-10 tons, depending upon pipeline length and diameter. To recover the oil fully and avoid contamination with other oils, the cleaning operation of the internal surface of the pipeline (known as “pigging”) is carried out. This is achieved by blowing “pigs” through the pipeline system by compressed air or nitrogen. Pigs can be hard or soft. A hard pig consists of usually three discs of plastic on a central shaft. Soft pigs consist of cylindrical plugs of foamed plastic. The pigs are a close fit in the pipeline to be cleaned.

The final analysis sample prepared by appropriate means such as drying, mixing, reducing, crushing, grinding, etc and then properly apportioned for sealing.

Pre-shipment inspections (PSIs) provide physical and visual inspection of goods pre or post shipment, to establish the correct value of imported or exported goods.

This operation is carried out, depending on the commodity involved, in a factory, ship side in the sampling preparation room or in a laboratory. We have 23 laboratories that help determine analytical results. Damage survey can cover every aspect of the contractual qualitative specifications and condition of the goods.

We will monitor the loading or discharging of your cargo to confirm that no radiation has been detected in the material, before issuing the appropriate certificate.

Security sealing of containers, drums, bags or even cargo holds with Alex Stewart Agriculture seals.

All contracts state a shipment period during which the goods should commence loading onto the nominated vessel. The question of whose responsibility it is to nominate the vessel (seller or buyer) depends on the contract. If the obligated party fails to commence loading within the shipment period, they are in breach of the contract and the other party is entitled to damages.

Employees often complain about their working atmosphere causing sick building syndrome. ASES (Alex Stewart Environmental Services) has the expertise to map out the interior climate of buildings and formulate advice to optimise the interior climate and ensure that employees work in a healthy environment.

Polluted soil can pose a risk to the health of the user, those living in the area and to the environment, however the risks are often underestimated. It is therefore always essential to accurately determine the clean-up urgency for the relevant soil before starting the cleanup process.

With increasing demand for land in urban areas, old industrial land is often used for new commercial development. ASES (Alex Stewart Environmental Services) can carry out various tests to determine the quality of the land (soil and groundwater) and as a result, potential health risks, material and financial loss can be significantly minimised. ASES has the qualified people, a fully equipped drilling vehicle, efficient sampling and computer programs to quickly produce report results. Every report drawn up for a soil study is tested against the applicable legal standards and our report will include a risk-evaluation prognosis of soil pollution spread, together with a detailed plan of approach.

If the stability of a vessel is endangered, the ship’s Master can stop the loading of a cargo. The Stability Calculation Survey can determine whether such actions are justified and if not, an Alex Stewart Agriculture certificate can be used when you seek compensation.

Accurate measurements of all kinds of stockpiles are undertaken using advance technology and traditional sampling techniques.

A tally is often commonly described as a “piece count”. A commodity can be tallied in package form, for example, a tally of bundles or of bagged fertiliser. A tally is often carried out when there are no facilities to weigh a commodity at a warehouse or port.

Tanks designated for receiving liquids must be checked for their suitability to receive the nominated cargo. Particular attention should be made to the tank coating in relation to the product to be loaded, because some tank coating can contaminate particular cargoes. The tank should be free of odour, clean and dry. If the product to be loaded requires heating, the surveyor should examine the coil heating system to ensure that it is tight, with no leakage.

After you have agreed to transport a cargo of liquids or fats, our thorough inspection will allow you to decline any claims made against you with regard to the method of storing your cargo.

Temperature determination is normally carried out by a probe connected to a digital readout. Establishing the temperature of a cargo to maintain safety is often critical. Some cargoes (eg steel scrap turnings) can spontaneously combust if not allowed to cool sufficiently before loading aboard a vessel.

Modern high-precision Titrators are used particularly for fast and accurate determination of silver in dore and fluorine in a range of materials.

This term is commonly applied during bulk shipment and storage of oils and other liquids. Ullage may be defined as equaling: total depth of tank minus depth of tank filled by oil or any other liquid.

Specialising in storing commodities where local management, experience and security ensure a safe and professional service.

A surveyor should investigate the presence of water ingress in a ship’s  hold. The source of the water ingress should be thoroughly investigated and can occur through the hatch covers, either down the hatch walls or through the hatch sealing joints. Water ingress can also occur through the vessel’s bilges or even if a tank top is punctured. A simple silver nitrate test can be performed to establish whether the water ingress is fresh or seawater.

For commercial settlement purposes, two factors must be considered: an accurate weight in conjunction with an accurate analytical result. It is essential that samples are drawn from the commodity to internationally accepted standards. Our surveyors are fully conversant with these requirements and procedures.

The X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer is used to scan any unknown material to determine its main constituents.

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