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Description: GENERAL - there are, broadly speaking, two main factors which are considered in connection with the purchasing of cotton: (a) Grade (b) Staple Grade - a loose description is "color" or "cleanliness." Cotton which has been badly ginned will contain more "trash" which, from the cotton spinners' point of view, means higher wastage. "Trash" consists of dirt, leaf, cut seed, stain, etc. "Stain" is caused by climatic conditions when growing. Lightning, for instance, will cause a yellow stain on the mature bolls. Staple is length and strength of fibers. Evenness of fiber length is also an important consideration. Cotton is shipped in full pressed bales. It is pressed to a considerable density, which does not harm the cotton. Having regard to the main characteristics mentioned, i.e. Grade and Staple and nature of packing - fully pressed bales - it can be said that there are only two chief causes of partial loss: (a) Fire (b) Water In the case of fire arising from adjacent cargo, it will take a long time for a pressed bale really to burn, but in the case of spontaneous combustion bales will burst into flames and are likely to be a total loss. Bales affected by an adjacent fire may have only superficial damage, say, cotton on the outside of the bales charred to a depth of 1/2 in. or so. It is a simple matter to pick off the damaged cotton and grant allowances on the weight picked off, as the remainder of the cotton in the bale will be quite sound and no allowance for this is warranted. The same applies to superficial water damage. While in no way affecting "Grade, "water will rot the fibers, but a bale can stand out in monsoon rain for days and the wet will not penetrate to more than a depth of 1/2 in. Where bales are damaged by fire and water, or water alone, it is advisable to contact a reputable firm with a cotton press, have all the bales opened up and damaged cotton removed and sound cotton repressed. Loss would be on basis of value of damaged cotton, plus picking and re-pressing charges. It is possible that badly damaged cotton might realize a small salvage value if sold as manure. If cotton had been pressed when damp it is quite possible that damage could occur notwithstanding that spontaneous combustion had not actually taken place; in other words, though there has been no fire, damage might have been done to the fibers by the heat engendered. Fumigation should not ordinarily be detrimental to cotton. Cotton is subject to loss or gain in weight. Cotton bales vary in size, weight and density according to the conditions in the country of origin. Bales are usually strapped by steel bands or wire and covered by Hessian cloth. As bales are generally pressed at the ginneries, "up country" cotton is particularly susceptible to "country damage." After pressing, the bales may be stored in warehouse or on plinths in the open protected by tarpaulins until ready for carriage to port by rail or road. The Hessian should keep the bales clean under normal conditions, but abnormal rain and mud can penetrate and damage cotton underneath the covers or the covers may be cut or torn. See also IMDG Code & US CFR.
Index: 235

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