Trident Freight Logistics Ltd. v. Meyer’s Sheet Metal Ltd.

In Carriage of Goods by Road/Rail on (Updated )

This was a counterclaim for water damage to a cargo of 19 pallets of galvanized sheet metal carried from Calgary to Nanaimo. The cargo was loaded onto a flat bed trailer in Calgary by employees of the shipper who placed tarpaulins over the pallets. The decision to use a flat bed trailer was made by the shipper because of the size of the various pallets. It was common ground that the usual method of conveyance was by a closed van. Upon delivery of the cargo at Nanaimo, it was received “clean and dry” without any exceptions. Under these circumstances, the trial Judge held that there was no liability on the part of the carrier. In fact, the trial Judge found that there was an implied agreement that the cargo owner assumed the risk of damage given that it chose to use a flat bed trailer and its employees loaded the cargo. On appeal, the British Columbia Court of Appeal held that the trial Judge erred in finding that there was an implied agreement that the cargo would be carried at the owner’s risk. The Court of Appeal referred to the applicable statute and regulations which required the carrier to issue a bill of lading in the prescribed form and further noted that the bill of lading issued did not contain any “special agreement” or any agreement limiting the carrier’s liability, both of which were required to be set out in the bill of lading. In view of the contents of the bill of lading and the statutory conditions the appeal was allowed and the Plaintiff was awarded damages.