Tuesday, 22 February 2011

GUIDE: Cargo Claims

Cargo claims are claims for compensation made against a carrier for loss of or damage to cargo which they carried for reward. These claims are usually brought by owners of the cargo, in contract, based on an allaegation that by damaging the cargo whilst in their custody the carrier breached an express or implied term of the contract.

Subrogation
Most cargo claims against shipowners are brought not by the owners of damaged cargo but by their insurers. As covered in our 'Cargo Insurance' guide, when a party moves cargo they will normally take out insurance to protect them against its loss or damage. These insurance policies typically state that claims will be paid once the cost of the loss or damage to the cargo is known (i.e. they do not require the cargo owner to pursue any legal recourse against the responsible party first).

The reason for this is that most of these policies have a 'subrogation' clause, whcih requires the assured to allow the insurer to pursue a claim against any responsible party where a claim is paid under the policy. The insurance compamny will not have a dircet legal recourse, in contract or tort, against a responsible carrier so any claim they bring would have to be brought in the name of the cargo owner, for which the insurance company would clearly require their permission and cooperation.

Subrogated rights can be evidenced on a form of subrogation signed by the cargo owner / insured and addressed to their insurer. These forms are often sent along with claim settlement cheques where the insurer considers that there may be a legal recourse for damage done to property during tranit.  

Terms
Responsibility for cargo loss / damage will generally turn on evidence of causation and terms of the contract. The contract terms will generally be found in the Bill of Lading, Charterparty or other prevailing carriage document and will usually be subject to one of the main international conventions on the carriage of goods by sea (Hague Rules, Hague Visby Rules, Hamburg Rules etc.). Which convention applies will depend on the countries of transit and the proposed law and jurisdiction of the contract.  

3 comments:

Cargo Freight Shipping 12 September 2012 at 02:06  

Found the article to be worth read. Liked the information shared. Thank you!

Anonymous 26 September 2013 at 05:37  

This is excellent blog which provided me a very good information. There are some typos which if rectified will make the article reach a good level.
Thanks!

Kurt Michael 22 January 2014 at 17:42  

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